What’s New at Modernism Week in 2017

New Tours, Idea Houses, and Just Plain Fun 

Thousands make the annual pilgrimage to Palm Springs to catch the cultural phenomenon that is Modernism Week but with hundreds of events scheduled over the eleven days, it’s impossible even for the most die hard of fans to catch everything.  Besides the annual sell-out bus tours, home tours, neighborhood tours, and an array of talks and films, Modernism Week always adds several new events to keep things fresh.  This is a handy round-up of what’s totally new in 2017.

Designed by Barry Berkus in 1961, Merito Manor is a 10-residence condominium garden community located in the historic Old Las Palmas neighborhood.
Designed by Barry Berkus in 1961, Merito Manor is a 10-residence condominium garden community located in the historic Old Las Palmas neighborhood.

More Access to New Places
Each year, Modernism Week affords guests access to new spaces and places throughout the Coachella Valley.

  • The Palm Springs/Chicago Connection Home Tour – Explore two Palm Springs midcentury residences with Chicago connections during this special tour. Proceeds will benefit the restoration of the House of Tomorrow.
  • Mojave Desert Trip – Palm Springs Modernism Committee hosts an exploration of the High Desert, peeking inside eight remarkable abodes that are home to urban refugees who have sought the tranquility and isolation of Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and Pioneertown.
  • Merito Manor Residences – With folded plate roof and telltale clerestory windows, this little known Barry Berkus-designed garden complex is a midcentury gem that few people, other than the current residents, get to see.
This posthumous masterpiece is one of two homes featured as part of the Chino Canyon Project. Plans for this house were unearthed from midcentury architect Al Beadle's Phoenix estate.
This posthumous masterpiece is one of two homes featured as part of the Chino Canyon Project. Plans for this house were unearthed from midcentury architect Al Beadle’s Phoenix estate.

The New Houses
People come to Modernism Week to see the beautiful houses, and this year Modernism Week does not disappoint.  In addition to the signature home tours, there are a few very notable additions in 2017.

  • Chino Canyon Project – Nestled in what will be Palm Springs’ last hillside development are two new houses that embody the harmonious marriage of midcentury and contemporary design.  One house is designed by Al Beadle, a midcentury architect whose unbuilt plans were unearthed from his Phoenix Estate posthumously and built to perfection.  The second, a sustainable modern day masterpiece designed by Wexler protege and Coachella Valley native, architect Lance O’Donnell.
  • The Christopher Kennedy Compound: Modernism Week Show House – Palm Springs interior designer Christopher Kennedy has assembled an all-star cast of tastemakers and trendsetters including Gray Malin, Joy Cho, Kate Spade NY, and Sarah Sherman Samuel to outfit the home of social media darling Kelly Golightly and husband and photographer Fred Moser.  Villa Golightly is a massive 7,000 sf manse that will be transformed from med to mod.
  • Modernism Week’s Social House The fifth Desert Eichler to be constructed in Palm Springs will be transformed by DesignMilk, designer Bobby Berk, Carl Hansen & Son, and Sonos into a concept space that lives at the intersection of midcentury and new century.  Your only chance to see it is at the end of the Eichler Day tour on Saturday, February 17 or the DesignMilk conversation on Sunday, February 18.
  • West Elm House – The West Elm House is an idea house created to inspire and guide architecture and design enthusiasts when it comes to the art of modernizing a midcentury home for the way we live today. Housed in a renovated Palmer & Krisel, the home is open for tours.
Photo via Lance Wyman
Photo via Lance Wyman

Mexico City Modern
From April 8-13, 2017, Modernism Week will be hosting an architectural tour to Mexico City, focusing on the city’s significant midcentury modern architecture including the residence and work of Luis Barragán, as well as some UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Don’t miss these February events highlighting notable aspects of Mexico modernism. (Click here for a special Mexico City Modern Monday Package.)

  • Mexican Modern: The Sunnylands Fountain in Rancho Mirage – Explore the intersection of modernism and the Mayan influence, represented by the monumental 40-foot bronze columnar-shaped fountain at the Museo Nacional de Antropología.
  • Spectacular Mexico – Design, Propaganda, and the 1968 Olympics – Author Luis Castaneda will explore how the design projects of the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics signaled Mexico’s arrival in the developed world and why they were a paradigm-shifting event in the history of graphics, branding and architecture.
  • Luis Barragán and the Gardens of El Pedregal – Learn about the Gardens of El Pedregal, the most published and praised Mexican architectural project of the 1940s and ‘50s. The elite residential subdivision of custom minimalist modern houses was begun in 1945 by Mexico’s most significant modern architect, Luis Barragán.
  • Volcanic Modernism: The University City of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM) – Mexico City resident Cristina Lopez will discuss the groundbreaking collaboration of more than 80 Mexican architects and artists who created the University City of UNAM from 1949 to 1954, as a collaborative work sponsored by the Mexican State. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, UNAM represents one of the most significant icons of Latin American Modernism.
Everyone knows that pink door.
Everyone knows that pink door.

Just Plain Fun
Modernism Week has also added a few things just for fun.

  • Palm Springs Door Tour – Palm Springs Style curates the first-ever Door Tour with Dunn Edwards.  This leisurely bike tour starts at The Saguaro and takes guests through the neighborhood so see (and snap) some of the most iconic and colorful doors you’ve all seen on Instagram.  Take your own shots for a chance to win a few delightful prizes.
  • Beyond “Poolside Gossip” with The High Life: Slim Aarons – Slim Aaron’s iconic photograph comes to life once again! Enjoy a conversation with Nelda Linsk & Gary Johns and the West Coast Theatrical Premier of the film “The High Life: Slim Aarons.” Wrap up the afternoon with a cocktail reception at a glamorous 1957 post and beam estate – the former home of socialite philanthropist Jeanette Edris Rockefeller, with recently updated interiors by Grace Home Furnishings. Catering by Jake’s.
  • ModWest Dance Party – Before Modernism Week, there was Western Week. Party like it’s 1965 when Palm Springs was home to Hollywood celebrities outfitted in western wear, cowboy hats and boots and Modernists.  Charlie Faye and the Fayettes will play their smart, ’60s-inspired soul-pop sounds at the historic Los Compadres Riding Stables Clubhouse in Palm Springs.
  • Charles Phoenix Cake & Cocktails at The Monkey Tree Hotel – Join Ambassador of Americana Charles Phoenix and Monkey Tree Hotel owners, Kathy and Gary Friedle, for a festive fête inspired by the yellow and turquoise colors of the Monkey Tree itself. There will be craft cocktails and cake aplenty!
  • Kai Wai Tiki Rum Party – Aloha from SEAthletes! Join us under the stars for an island style party at the historical O’Donnell Golf Club. Pick up a commemorative tiki mug, swing your hips to the sounds of hula dancing, see an exhibition of tiki carvings and tapa designs, and welcome guest of honor Princess Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa, the sole remaining royal descendant of the Kingdom of Hawaii.