Monday, February 16, 2009

Modernism Week in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is known for many things; a near perfect year-round climate with dry heat, 360 degree stunning mountain views, pristine golf courses, a get-away playground for Hollywood celebrities and a fantastic array of fine dining. But Palm Springs is also noted for having an impressive amount of well preserved mid-century modern architecture. There are numerous examples of the quintessential mid-century style designed by giants such as Albert Frey, Donald Wexler, Richard Neutra, and E. Stewart Williams, among others. Palm Springs has an abundance of "Alexander Homes", named for the developer who popularized the post & beam design style in Palm Springs. These mid-century gems are identifiable by low-pitched roofs, wide eaves, open-beamed ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and also narrow horizontal windows. Many homeowners of this style have embraced the mid-century style by furnishing these homes with modernist art and furniture. As a result Palm Springs has attracted a huge amount of new and resale shops that specialize in this style. The modernist style is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, and Palm Springs has become a mecca for all things mid-century modern. Thus the annual Palm Springs Modernism Week was born several years ago.
Modernism Week is the combination of a Modernism Show held at the convention center, events/lectures and tours by the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, Palm Springs Historical Society & Palm Springs Modern Committee, exhibits at the Palm Springs Art Museum and parties, galore! The activities all week cover everything from art, architecture, design and furnishings. Artists, designers, writers, photographers, architects and students from around the world descend on Palm Springs to live, learn and experience the modernist style and re-live the era. There are several groups that participate and sponsor events all week long:
The Palm Springs Modern Committee participates to promote and maintain the heritage of mid-century modern architecture and design. Year long, they serve as a resource for residents and nonresidents who identify and appreciate mid-century modern style. They also rally supporters to preserve significant buildings in the Palm Springs area.
The Palm Springs Preservation Foundation is another group that participates. They are also a non-profit group that focuses on educating the public to identity and recognize our historically important modern sites. In particular they attempt to maintain the very elements that make Palm Springs unique from other communities in the area. (at left: photo of Palm Springs City Hall entrance). Another important partner in Modernism week is the Palm Springs Art Museum, which itself is housed in an architecturally significant building designed by E. Stewart Williams. Right now, the Palm Springs Art Museum features exciting exhibitions that include modernist style and also offers lectures and discussion groups.
Finally, the
Palm Springs Modernism Show hosts a large number of decorative and fine arts dealers known nationally and around the world. The show, held at the Palm Springs Convention Center will also include vintage mid-century furniture, art, and furnishings available for purchase. It is truly a mecca for anyone who appreciates this style. Whether you want to stay at an authentic mid-century modern hotel, buy something for your home, or come to learn, this is the place to meet and greet other folks who live and love modernism. So grab your martini glass and visit Palm Springs. This image here at left is from the Modernism website and promotes a cocktail party being hosted at the former Twin Palm's estate of Frank Sinatra. I've been to this home many times for various events, it is a marvelous example of mid-century modern style-complete with a swimming pool shaped like a piano. I'll try to share another post on the events of this week, so stay tuned!
-Rick Rockhill

10 comments:

Mags said...

Palm Springs just looks so beautiful-is there anything ugly there? It seems like such a glamorous place. I love that you invite us in with your posts. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

how I wish I were there! It looks fab.

Lois Grebowski said...

ooh, I love that home in your post! IT'S GROOVY!

whimsical brainpan said...

It looks marvelous and sounds fascinating.

Diane J Standiford said...

I just love all the choices we have.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Palm Springs certainly has a lot of these Mid Century Modern Homes....I LOVE Palm Springs, Rick...Mostly for the Weather and the beauty of those mountains---especially the way the shadows fall on them as the sun moves around in the late afternoon...!
I look forward to more of yur posts about this Special Week!

Mona said...

your Palm Springs sounds like our Bangalore in India ! :)

Big Pissy said...

Palm Springs looks and sounds absolutely lovely! :)

btw...I ADORE the photos of you with the celebs~how fun! :)

jackie said...

this looks like it would be so much fun to attend, wish I were there.

Olivia said...

Sometimes I think Palm Springs inhabits a different planet, nay, a different universe even.

I am sure if I saw it in real life I will be awed and nonplussed, and will leave shaking my head in wonder.

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