Palm Springs 2019 – Welcome to the Modernist Mecca, a.k.a. Palm Springs, California. From February 14-24 the thriving city hosts the Modernism Week 2019 celebrating an era that still inspires architects around the world since the late ‘50s. The festival highlights midcentury modern architecture, art, interior and landscape design, and vintage culture. Check these 12 must-see events and exhibitions.
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In the early XX century, Palm Springs used to be a laid back outpost in the middle of the desert. Until showbiz made it its home! Music-stars like Elvis Priesley and Frank Sinatra as well as illuminated entrepreneurs settled in, in search of a nature-filled relaxed place just few hours away from Los Angeles.
Here, they commissioned gorgeous villas to some of the leading American Modernist architects and interior designers such as Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, Arthur Elrod and more. Over the years the city became a style-epicenter which contributed to shape the the famed Desert Modernism architecture style… And strongly contributed to build up the Dreaming California myth.
Every year, such vibe comes back to life with the Modernism week offering a rich program of events spanning across Palm Springs. The 14th edition of the festival runs this month with a focus on interior design and features a wide array of events. Make sure not to miss these 10 ones!
THE ILLUSTRIOUS KEYNOTE SPEECH – Special guest of Modernism Week 2019 is Moshe Safdie. On Saturday, February 16 at the Annenberg Theater at 1 p.m., the internationally-acclaimed architect and urban planner will talk about his work over his 50+ year career, including the Montreal ’67 Habitat.
THE VINTAGE PARTY – On Saint Valentine’s eve, Modernism Week hosts a a groovy, 1960’s psychedelic-themed Opening Night Party with cocktails and dancing at the 1962 Wexler and Harrison-designed Indian Canyons Golf Resort Clubhouse.
FEATURED HOMES – Each year Modernism Week offers exclusive tours of Featured Homes. This year, get mesmerized at the Green Gables. Designed by Palmer & Krisel in 1958, the home is undergoing a full renovation by H3K Design. La Vie en Rose is in posh Vista Las Palmas and backs up to the San Jacinto mountains. Interior designer Christopher Kennedy’s spectacular renovation of a quintessential midcentury property.
The Axiom Desert House by Turkel Design is a 2.110-square-foot modern prefab will become home to the Turkel family. KUD Properties’ Desert Eichler newly-built residence is a replica of the original homes designed by Joseph Eichler, but modernized for today’s standard of living.
GUIDED TOURS – There is a rich offer of tours across the city. Check the ones including the Morse House (1946) and Stewart Williams’ infamous Twin Palms villa (1949), which Frank Sinatra commissioned for himself. Illuminated Modern is a sunset architectural bus tour.
UNVEILING THE CREE HOUSE – One of Albert Frey’s most intact residential works has been meticulously preserved and restored to nearly its original 1955 condition. Never before seen by the public, it has been owned by a single family and has been largely forgotten, as it quietly existed in Cathedral City on its hilltop perch overlooking the desert floor. Tours will be offered daily.
CELEBRATING ARTHUR ELROD – On Friday, February 15 Modernism Week will host a special dedication ceremony on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars for acclaimed interior designer Arthur Elrod (1924-1974). Elrod’s work remains relevant today and his style instilled a lasting impression on Palm Springs. His former home known as the Elrod Escape will also be open for a home tour and evening cocktail party on Thursday.
THE MODERN DESIGN EXPO – The 18th annual Show & Sale at the Palm Springs Convention Center (February 15-18) features 85 premier national and international dealers offering furniture, decorative and fine arts representing design movements of the 20th century. On show cutting-edge modern design and technology to be introduced during the first weekend of Modernism Week 2019.
THE LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION – In partnership with UCR Riverside Palm Desert, Modernism Week 2019 continues its exploration of landscape architecture and design with the west coast premier of a photography exhibition highlighting the career of Dan Kiley (1912-2004), one of the nation’s most important post-war landscape architects.
During his prolific career, which spanned more than half a century, he worked with equally significant architects including Eero Saarinen, Louis Kahn, and I.M. Pei to create internationally acknowledged Modernist design icons.
THE ARCHITECTURAL THEATRE PLAY – Famed theatre Hollywood director and screen writer Tom Lazarus presents The Princes of Kings Road, a play blurring comedy with drama narrating the encounter between an elderly Richard Neutra and his colleague Rudolph Schidler. Collectors will be more than happy to explore the local vintage furniture market.
THE MODERNIST CINEFORUM – from February 22-24 the Camelot Theater features more than 25 films, documentaries and short films carefully selected by Modernism Week 2019 and the American Documentary Film Festival (AmDocs). Additional film screenings will take place throughout the festival.
THE MID-CENTURY SYMPOSIUM – Tour the 1952 Walker Guest House Replica, a stunning full-scale, furnished replica designed by architect Paul Rudolph, one of America’s leading midcentury architects. Join the symposium on the life and work of Rudolph followed by an exclusive cocktail reception at the rarely-open-to-the-public Siva/Russell residence, a 1959 mountainside residence designed by modernist Hugh Kaptur.
THE VINTAGE TRAILER SHOW – The thoughtfully curated collection of vintage trailers, campers, buses and motor homes is arguably one of the largest and most attended vintage trailer shows in the United States. The show will also have a fun mix of retail vendors whose products complement the vintage trailer lifestyle and will have you ready to hit the open road!