• Event Report // Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014.


    Posted on 25th March, by Luke Moloney in architecture, events + exhibitions, travel. 8 Comments

    Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

     

    Armchair tourists, we’re off to California! I recently had the luck to attend this year’s Modernism Week in Palm Springs, with my good friends Sarah Jane Pyke of Arent and Pyke, Sara Pearson of Pearson Architecture, and Catalina Alfaro of Alfie’s Friend Rolfe. With a rented house in the Movie Colony, a bagful of tickets, and heads full of dreams (which is to say we were jetlagged and only half awake), we were primed for a great week. Palm Springs (or as I came to think of it, ‘Hot Bowral’) duly delivered.

     

    Edris House. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Edris House. The little house blends beautifully with its scrubby desert setting.

    Edris House. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Edris House. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Edris House. It soon became apparent that you’re nobody in Palm Springs unless you have a funny-shaped pool in a spectacular setting.
    Photos by Luke Moloney.

     

    Our bookings commenced with cocktails and canapés at the Edris House, a rocky little fifties pearler by E. Stewart Williams. Somewhere between walking in the door and knocking back our second champagne, the Palm Springsness of it all had suffused our souls and we’d all began to feel like rock stars. The house was open to all with a valid ticket – it’s a brave person who subjects their home to the scrutiny of a horde of pissed architects and designers, but, I thought while taking photos of a stranger’s toilet and bedlinen, perhaps this open-door policy is part of the great American spirit of philanthropy. The spirit was one of convivial bonhomie, our accents stood out like dog’s balls, and as night fell over the valley, we all agreed that coming to Modernism Week was the best idea we’d had in ages.

     

    Frey House. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Frey House. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Frey House. Built-in pool seating – we’ll be ripping this off at the first opportunity.

    Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Frey House. Made from simple breeze blocks and metal cladding coloured to match the desert, the house has a kind of architectural camouflage which makes it difficult to spot from the streets below.

    Frey House Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Frey House. The interior spaces are balanced around a massive rocky outcrop in the middle of the house. I like how they brought the “outdoors indoors”.
    Photos by Luke Moloney.

     

    The next morning involved a swim in our heated pool, and a crack-of-dawn tour at Albert Frey’s house, overlooking the affluent Tennis Club district of town. I will save detail on this for a later post, but it was an absolute treat. Gazing down upon the town, the palm trees stopped looking like isolated spears and became a thick green canopy shading the city streets. The morning light was glinting off the roof of Lautner’s Elrod and Hope houses, on the opposite side of the valley. One felt oneself in the presence of greatness.

     

    >Bob Hope's house by John Lautner. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Bob Hope's house by John Lautner. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Bob Hope's house by John Lautner. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Bob Hope's house by John Lautner. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Bob Hope’s house by John Lautner.
    Photos by Brian Thomas Jones.

     

    Elrod House by John Lautner. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Elrod House by John Lautner. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Elrod House by John Lautner. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Elrod House by John Lautner.
    Images via HomeDSGN.

     

    Wexler House. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Wexler House. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Wexler House. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Don Wexler’s own home seemed to have a paper-thin division between the house and the courtyard spaces around it.
    Photos by Luke Moloney.

     

    Another morning house tour of note was to the Wexler House, for years the home of local architect Don Wexler. The house had recently been subjected to a so-stylish-it-hurts renovation – muted greys, a beautiful terrazzo floor, and the sexiest bookshelves (yes) I’ve seen in ages. Planned around simple timber blade walls and big plate glass windows, the seamless integration of house and garden was magical.

     

    Palm Canyon. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Palm Canyon. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Palm Canyon. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Palm Canyon. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Palm Canyon. Photos by Luke Moloney.

     

    Wexlered-up, we took ourselves on a self-guided tour around Palm Springs to explore the cookie-cutter mod neighbourhoods around Palm Canyon. Serried ranks of neat white houses, grouped around common swimming pools (so sensible!), stretched on and on under the palm trees, with only door colours and a twist in the ridge lines to differentiate one home from the next. I privately wondered how long it took newcomers to learn how to find their own house, and snapped away with enthusiasm. Outside of the street scenes in ‘Edward Scissorhands’ I’m not sure I’ll see such a confection again.

     

    Bus Tour. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Bus Tour. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Wexler’s sprawling Dinah Shore House.
    Photos by Luke Moloney.

    Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House. This was what I’d come to see, and the view from the driveway alone was worth the ticket. Lucky Kaufmanns – their other weekender was Fallingwater!
    Photo by Luke Moloney.

    Bus Tour. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Frank Sinatra’s ‘Twin Palms’.
    Photo by Luke Moloney.

    Bus Tour. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Bus Tour. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Bus Tour. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Hip little houses by the Alexanders, a father and son development team who left a big impression on Palm Springs.
    Photos by Luke Moloney.

     

    After a peep at the Modernism Week display home (think DesignEx packed into one little house), we checked in for our Modernism bus tour. There can be few better places on earth in which to grab an oversized hat and be driven about in an open-roof bus. We took in the whole town. Gems included the Historic Las Palmas district (the homes of Liberace, Liz Taylor, Peter Lawford, and so on lending glitz to the shady streets), the leafy Movie Colony, where Frank Sinatra’s ‘Twin Palms’ estate sprawls beneath its eponymous pair of plants, but for me the showstopper was Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House. A marvel, even if glimpsed only from the driveway.

     

    Kaptur House. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Kaptur House. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Kaptur House. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Kaptur House. This nearly came back in my suitcase.
    Photos by Luke Moloney.

     

    In the evening we glammed up and once more climbed into the hills for ‘Cliffside Cocktails’ at a Hugh Kaptur house, with trimmings by Albert Frey. The private waterfall, glow-in-the-dark rock crystal tactile indicators, and particularly good jazz singer cast what I was coming to appreciate as a particular Palm Springs hue over proceedings. Again, this was a private home opened up to all comers. We were thrilled that the lady who owned it was in attendance, was charm itself, and had dressed to match her upholstery. Thrillingly for us Aussies, the house next door was called ‘Bogan Villa’.

     

    The Parker Hotel. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    The Parker Hotel. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    The Parker Hotel. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    The Parker Hotel. Photos by Luke Moloney.

    The Parker Hotel. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    The Parker Hotel. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    The Parker Hotel. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    The Parker Hotel. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    The Parker Hotel. Images courtesy of Parker Palm Springs.

     

    Mention must be made of a sumptuous breakfast and walk around at Jonathan Adler‘s tjuzhed-up Parker Hotel. Despite myself I’m a huge Adler fan, and was impressed by the restraint of the place, with witty tweaks in all the right places – a master class in Desert Luxe. A similar experience was had at Kelly Wearstler’s Viceroy Hotel. We enjoyed a nightcap and dessert at the recently-completed Ace Hotel, where none of us was cool enough to be admitted (though the staff very kindly let us in).

     

    Workshop Bar. Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014 | Yellowtrace

    Workshop Kitchen and Bar. Photo by Luke Moloney.

     

    The most impressive restaurant fit out we saw was the Workshop Kitchen and Bar. The sort of simple concrete simplicity I wish I’d thought of myself. By far our favourite restaurant experience was in the courtyard of the ‘El Mirasol’ hotel, where a waitress changed our ideas of customer service (and margaritas) forever.

    And so our Modernism Week experience concluded. It’s on every year, and next year is the 10th anniversary so I imagine the organisers will be pulling out the big guns to make it amazing. I would recommend the experience unreservedly!

    Ende.

    Text by Luke Moloney for Yellowtrace.

     


    [Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Luke Moloney for Yellowtrace.]

     





  • 8 Responses to “Event Report // Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014.”

    1. Kathy Joyce says:

      Thank you for sharing. OMG! The glamour.

    2. deborah says:

      Your photos are stunning. I was there last year and didn’t want to leave. You’ve just reignited that feeling in me.

    3. Many Thanks for sharing Yellowtrace and friends. looked like and amazing week.

    4. Nina says:

      LUKE! Nailed it! I’m inspired, and looking at tickets to Cali next year! Boo Yah!!!

    5. LP says:

      Fantastic! Absolutely loved this, thanks Luke!

    6. […] and nothing I have to say will surprise you very much. I have, however, had the good fortune to have recently been inside this house. It is highly unlikely I will ever be able to say the same about Meryl […]

    7. […] had the good luck to visit this house recently as part of Palm Springs’ annual Modernism Week. It’s tiny, and it’s […]

    8. […] Posts: Event Report // Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014. Albert Frey House II in Palm Springs. […]



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