Modernism Week arrives in Palm Springs

The “Forgotten” Cree House. Photo by Jake Holt

Modernism Week, Palm Springs’ annual celebration of mid-century modern architecture and design, begins this Thursday and runs through February 27th, offering 11 days of house tours, lectures, screenings, exhibits and nightly parties. 

Opening night in 2019 at the Palm Springs Modernism Week Show.

The festivities kick off Thursday night with the event’s opening night party, Love, Modernism Style, which will take place on the Indian Canyons Golf Resort clubhouse. Designed in 1961 by Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison, it’s considered one of the most iconic midcentury modern clubhouses in the area. 

Creative cocktails at a previous opening party for the Palm Springs Modernism Week Show.

The weekend also sees the opening of the 21st annual Palm Springs Modernism Week Show and Modernism Design Expo, exhibiting the offerings of 90 vintage national and international decorative and fine arts dealers and 45 dealers featuring contemporary 21st century cutting-edge home design products, lighting, and new furniture designs , which runs through the first weekend. Saturday night’s tentpole happening is the 007 Cocktail Party: A night for Preservation, a glamorous evening celebrating Southern California’s architectural and Hollywood heritage set against the backdrop of the Dinah Shore Estate designed by legendary architect Donald Wexler. 

Maison Bleue Moderne by Michelle Boudreau Design. Photo by Lance Gerber.

Some of the festivals not-to-be-missed events include: a walking tour through the Movie Colony neighborhood, which blends classic Spanish Colonial Revival with the sleek mid-century Modern designs, including Frank Sinatra’s avant-garde modernist jewel by E. Stewart Williams; Maison Bleue Moderne by Michelle Boudreau Design, a glimpse into how original architecture, mid-century modern furniture and current technology come together a walking tour of The Mesa, a secluded neighborhood with a fascinating assortment of eclectic architecture that boasts the Santorini House, one of Palm Springs’ most stunning architectural anomalies; The Forgotten Frey, a look at Cree House, one of two intact residences designed by architect Albert Frey; a in-depth look on the architecture of William F. Cody by the authors of a new (and long overdue) book on his work; a tour of Vista Las Palmas, once nicknamed the “Beverly Hills of Palm Springs”, and its treasure trove of homes, developed by George and Robert Alexander, fondly referred to as “The Alexanders”; an exhibit of tablescapes from the 30s, 40s and 50, featuring pieces by Ben Seibel, Russel Wright and Eva Zeisel, as well a conversation, led by Frances Anderton, longtime host on KCRW NPR station in L.A., on the partnership of Russel and Mary Wright; “Silvertop”, a short film on the history and revitalization of the iconic John Lautner home, presented by architect Barbara Bestor, FAIA of Bestor Architecture; a tour of Country Club Estates, the residential housing enclave by famed architect A. Quincy Jones; the Modernism Week Vintage Car Show, showcasing over 50 vintage cars from the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s; Stories Untold, a three part symposium on the important legacy of Black designers, builders and developers in Palm Springs; a peek at The Crank-Garland House by architect William F. Cody, listed as a “tear down” before Jessy Moss and Steve Jocz discerned its providence and restored it, this “lost” home was recognized in 2019 as an historic landmark in Indian Wells  (there are a number of tours throughout the festival dedicated to Cody’s work); and Roam With RIOS: a guided tour to discover how local history and ecology inspired this modern oasis, developed by RIOS, located near the Palm Springs Art Museum.

For a full schedule of events and to purchase tickets, head to Modernism Week

The Abernathy House by William F. Cody. Photo by Jake Holt

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