“Mini” Modernism Week Returns This Month To Showcase Palm Springs’s Iconic Design Heritage

Lance Gerber

By Jack Wagner 

Taking place this month, from October 19th to 22nd in Palm Springs, “mini” Modernism Week is a scaled-down version of the formal Modernism Week, which occurs annually in February, also in Palm Springs. For the upcoming iteration, the calendar includes more than 50 events that encompass exclusive architecture tours, insightful talks, lively concerts, rare dining experiences, and much more.

Holding a unique and iconic design heritage, Palm Springs boasts one of the world’s most remarkable collections of mid-century modern architecture. Clean lines, earthy tones, expansive glass windows, flat rooflines, and a harmonious integration of indoor spaces with the outdoor desert landscape characterize this architectural style. Luminaries such as William F. Cody, Albert Frey, William Krisel, Richard Netura, Donald Wexlter, and many more have each left their signature marks on Palm Springs with their ingenious designs.

Lance Gerber

The Greater Palm Springs area was initially developed for large-scale residential living in the 1920s, attracting snowbirds seeking respite and relaxation in the desert’s warmth. By the mid-20th century, the valley had exploded in popularity, becoming a hotspot for both “starchitects” and celebrities alike.

Palm Springs quickly became the glamorous playground for an array of Hollywood Golden Era celebrities and prominent figures. Icons such as Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope hosted star-studded parties at their now-revered architectural estates, while audiences could experience the standalone performances of Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin at local venues. Both Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor were property owners in the valley, regularly vacationing alongside U.S. presidents, major league athletes, and the high-profile stars of the time.

Today, the desert enclave remains a star-studded destination, with celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Cindy Crawford, and the Kardashian-Jenner clan, holding luxury property in the area. This enduring celebrity presence testifies to the timeless appeal of Palm Springs and its unique blend of luxury, architecture, and natural beauty.

Some of the standout events during the four-day “mini” Modernism Week include an intimate Italian-style dinner at Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate, designed by desert modernism architect E. Stewart Williams, and a guided tour of the posh Movie Colony neighborhood, home to many of Hollywood’s most glamorous figures. The neighborhood features an eclectic mix of Spanish Colonial Revival estates and sleek modernist homes.

For more lively events, ticket holders can attend a live concert filled with classic mid-century songs by Lynda Kay or an interactive experience that pays tribute to the legendary 1969 Woodstock music festival. Also, attendees can opt for a live jazz performance from Lizzy and The Triggermen at the legendary Annenberg Theater, or pay homage to the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” with an Elvis Presley-themed brunch produced by PS Underground.

Tickets for the various events at “mini” Modernism Week are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and range from free admission to $200 per ticket. Be swift, as space is limited and tickets are selling out fast.

The formal Modernism Week, slated to take place from February 15th to 25th, 2024, raises the roof with more than 350 scheduled events. These include historical presentations, captivating sessions at the Annenberg Theater and the CAMP theater, vintage auto shows, bustling parties, and must-see architecture tours, including the Signature Home Tour, a renowned favorite among attendees. All events for the 11-day festival are open to the public, and many are offered for free or at a relatively low cost. Tickets for February’s Modernism Week will go on sale at noon PDT on November 1st of this year.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.