Desert Rose

  • John Lyon

For 10 days each February, the desert city of Palm Springs becomes an oasis for devotees of modernist design. Now in its ninth year, Modernism Week offers visitors access to more than 100 events that run the gamut from architecture lectures and documentary screenings to gallery exhibitions and cocktail receptions, all paying tribute to 20th-century design.

The venue for Modernism Week is apt. During the United States’ post–World War II economic boom, Palm Springs was at the heart of the midcentury modernist movement as architects such as John Lautner, E. Stewart Williams, and Albert Frey flocked to the city to fashion weekend retreats for Southern California’s rich and famous, including Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Many of these homes will be included in the festival’s walking and bus tours, and guided tours of select properties also will be offered.

A highlight of the week’s events is the 14th annual Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale, which will be held from February 14 to 17 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The show brings together nearly 80 predominantly local decorative and fine arts dealers, including Loft Thirteen, Studio One 11, and Design/One, and offers a variety of antique furnishings, textiles, and jewelry alongside new, 20th century–inspired pieces. The first night of the show will consist of a preview gala that grants attendees early buying opportunities, and proceeds from the ticket sales help fund scholarships for high school students interested in studying architecture or design. Tickets for the preview gala are available for $95 ($75 in advance), while general admission to the show is $20.  

Modernism Week, 760.799.9477, www.modernismweek.com

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