The week of February 12-22, while the rest of the country was being pummeled with record amounts of snow and record-low temperatures, Palm Springs was experiencing mild 75-80 degree temperatures and blue skies while celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Modernism Week. Each February an influx of over 45,000 designers, architects, art lovers, and mid-century modern enthusiasts from over 20 countries descend upon the resort desert town of Palm Springs to celebrate mid-century modern design and architecture while supporting the preservation of the architecture that put Palm Springs on the map as the mecca for modernist design.
What started out as an annual symposium organized by the Palm Springs Museum's Architecture and Design Council and the Palm Springs Modernism Show has grown to include home tours, lectures, films, a vintage car show, double decker bus tours, vintage theme parties and more. Fashion designer Todd Oldham, whose shows I frequented during NYFW back in the early 90s, delivered the keynote address on the famed, multi-faceted textile, interior, and industrial designer Alexander Girard.
CAMP at Modernism Week
The hub spot for Modernism Week was at CAMP (Community and Meeting Place), centrally located in the Uptown Design District.
CAMP served as the starting point where Modernism Week attendees checked in and planned their activities for the day (and there were so many to choose from!)
Design talks and film screenings were held in the temporary tents as was a curated selection of pop-up shops that offered the best in modernist design.
At CAMP, I even came across the newly introduced "Betty" laminate from BlogTourVegas sponsor Wilsonart that I recently saw last month at KBIS, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. "Betty" was used for a vanity installation by Better Built and was the perfect choice to include at Modernism Week, as it's stylized retro pattern speaks to the mid-century modern design aesthetic.
The Palm Springs Fine Arts Fair
The Palm Springs Fine Arts Fair, held at the Palm Springs Convention Center, featured post-war and contemporary art from artists around the world. Thought provoking themes, some controversial, included political, religious, social, and moral messages.
The Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale
This year's Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale featured 85 national and international dealers of vintage 20th century furniture and decorative arts.
The 2015 Modernism Week Show House - The Christopher Kennedy Compound
Even though this year was only Christopher's second year in producing the Christopher Kennedy Compound Show House in conjunction with Modernism Week, he is already a pro. Last year he received endless accolades, but this year he decided to select a group of 13 new designers, to offer a fresh new approach. Designers whose rooms are pictured below include Paletteur, Trip Haenish, Nancy Price, Parker Kennedy, and Vanessa de Vargas.
A highlight of Modernism Week was the Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour which stopped at several architecturally significant properties so that attendees could see and photograph the sites from a different vantage point. In addition, walking tours took visitors through the old neighborhoods of Hollywood greats Gene Autry and Frank Sinatra, and interior home tours included visits to homes and commercial buildings designed by the likes of Donald Wexler, Albert Frey, and A. Quincy Jones.
There was so much to see and do during Modernism Week, and the schedule of events for each day were packed with activities to keep everyone entertained. And if that wasn't enough, an afternoon out by the pool with a fruity cocktail in hand and cute cabana boy nearby was always an option. All joking aside, I can't think of a better way to learn about the architecture and culture Palm Springs than to experience Modernism Week.