Winter Destination: Modernism Week in Palm Springs

Gardens of the Annenberg Estate, Sunnylands
Gardens of the Annenberg Estate, Sunnylands
(ARTFIXdaily photo)
  • Modernism Week Showcase Home – Moroccan Modern

    Modernism Week Showcase Home – Moroccan Modern

  • Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale

    Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale

Modernism Week’s signature February festival will take place February 15-25, 2018, highlighting midcentury modern architecture, art, interior and landscape design, and vintage culture in the Palm Springs area of Southern California. For the thirteenth year, the annual 11-day festival will feature a wide array of events including the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale, tours of iconic homes in more than 23 neighborhoods (including the Signature Home Tour on both weekends), architectural walking, biking and double-decker bus tours, tours of the historic Annenberg Estate at Sunnylands, classic cars, garden tours, a vintage travel trailer exhibition, nightly parties and a special series of talks about Frank Lloyd Wright, Preservation, and Legendary Women of Design. All events are open to the public and tickets are on sale at A portion of ticket proceeds benefit Modernism Week (a non-profit organization) and other local preservation, neighborhood and community groups.

“Modernism Week continues to expand the scope and reach of our events and programming,” said William Kopelk, Modernism Week Board Chairman. “This year, we will continue that trend by offering new events and educational opportunities while still featuring the beloved favorites that our audience anticipates. We will offer a compelling combination of educational talks and film screenings, exciting tours, and activities throughout the Coachella Valley and beyond. Our returning Modernism Week attendees will be thrilled with the selection of appealing new programs.”

One of the highlights of the first weekend includes the annual Modernism Week Opening Night Party on Thursday, February 15. This chic red carpet affair will be teeming with vintage style and authentic swagger as attendees channel their inner Marilyn, Sammy or Hefner, for a night of entertainment, high style and glamour. The popular event will take place at the 1962 Indian Canyons Golf Resort, designed by Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison. The Canyon Country Club, as it was originally known, has a legendary history as a favorite spot of Hollywood icons including Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Walt Disney and Dean Martin. For the Opening Party, the club will recall the famous “After Dark” television series and be transformed into a swinging club reminiscent of fabulous cocktail parties from the 1960s.

Fans of midcentury-era Hollywood films will enjoy Hollywood Revisited, a stunning musical revue that showcases a dazzling lineup of costumes worn by the stars in original Hollywood films. Set to the music that defined the times and presented by top notch Broadway and Hollywood performers, Hollywood Revisited lets the audience experience historic costume designs of Hollywood's Golden Age.

Participants of the Modernism Week Signature Home Tour will be able to either drive themselves on the tour route or upgrade to a new VIP chauffeur experience in which up to three participants will be able to ride in a style in Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUVs and finish the tour with an exclusive private reception. Preservation of historic buildings has always been one of the fundamental pillars for Modernism Week. Preservation will be celebrated this year with tours of the Walter S. White-designed “Wave” house in Palm Desert, which will feature a compelling presentation about the house and its significance, followed by a tour of the structure. Midcentury modern places of worship will be highlighted in two new tours this year. The first tour, “Sacred Places - Modern Church Tour,” will feature more than seven houses of worship and emphasize how the architecture of the structure was designed to augment the purpose of the building. Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs will also be featured in a separate tour entitled “Architecture in Service of the Sacred and Spiritual” that contrasts the historic E. Stewart Williams structure with the 1980’s west-facing addition designed by David Christian.

For the last few years, Modernism Week has offered attendees the opportunity to join home tours and architectural excursions outside of the immediate Palm Springs area. This successful expansion continues in 2018 with home tours planned in surrounding desert cities including Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells. Donald Wexler’s classic 1964 Dinah Shore estate will be open to the public for a special Modernism Week event called A Night at the Dinah Shore Estate on Saturday, February 17. The party, a fundraiser for Save Iconic Architecture, will feature cocktails and the ability to explore this architectural gem. Save Iconic Architecture works to prevent the demise of unique and relevant properties in southern California

Modernism Week will also feature a special panel presentation called Legendary Women of Design (profiling three legendary female designers who were pioneers in a male-dominated field), three presentations about architect Paul Revere Williams, and several presentations about design (including a groundbreaking examination of design dialogues between California and Mexico, followed by a tour, a presentation and moderated conversation entitled “From Googie to Gehry,” and a fascinating exploration of the midcentury look and design of the spaces depicted in the film “The Incredibles 2”).

Michelle Delk, Partner and Landscape Architect at Snøhetta, one of the hottest, most in-demand architectural firms in the world, will offer an insightful overview of her firm’s work on the Willamette Falls Riverwalk project, in Oregon City, Oregon which will convert a massive defunct 22-acre paper mill complex into a public-oriented park, riverwalk, visitors center and performance space. Mark Rios, of Rios Clemente Hale Studio, will discuss their firm’s work on the new Palm Springs Downtown Park.

Modernism Week aficionados will be pleased to see that the core favorite events will return this year, and many will feature new enhancements. The popular Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tours will feature new additions to the tour with updated commentary, and provides participants with a 2.5 hour overview of significant civic and commercial buildings, as well as residential properties located within notable Palm Springs neighborhoods, including the midcentury “leisure lifestyle” communities in South Palm Springs. Led by knowledgeable guides, this open-air experience offers unique, exterior perspectives of Palm Springs. Illuminated Modern, and its sunset architectural bus tour, also return this year with an updated route and new additions to the schedule. This unique tour showcases important midcentury modern buildings in Palm Springs, which are illuminated with colorful lighting. Projected on many buildings are the architect’s name and year of completion. The historic Town & Country Center will be one of the many architecturally significant buildings to be profiled this year.

One of Modernism Week’s most highly anticipated events, the 18th annual Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale at the Palm Springs Convention Center (February 16-19) will feature 85 premier national and international dealers offering furniture, decorative and fine arts representing design movements of the 20th century. Produced by Dolphin Promotions, whose shows are among the leading venues for antiques and collectibles in North America, the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale will open with an Early Buying Preview Party on February 16 to benefit Modernism Week.

Included with admission to the Modernism Show & Sale is weekend admission to the Palm Springs Modern Design Expo, a new event showcasing cutting-edge modern design and technology to be introduced during the first weekend of Modernism Week. Created by the same team that has produced the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale for the past 17 years, the Palm Springs Modern Design Expo will feature 40 exhibitors presenting the newest and hippest elements for modern living including dynamic and energy efficient building materials, cutting-edge home appliances and electronics, smart home technology and security, hand-crafted furniture and design accessories, contemporary art and photography, and much more. Modernism Week attendees will once again be able to tour iconic homes


ArtfixDaily Artwire