Desert Cool: 10 Must-See Events at Palm Springs Modernism Week
Today marks the beginning of Palm Springs Modernism Week, a 10-day celebration of the people and places that made the desert hideaway a hotbed of modern chic. Dwell shares our favorites.
For anyone familiar with midcentury modern architecture, particularly in the Palm Springs area, the name Donald Wexler would immediately come to mind. For anyone familiar with the Southern California midcentury modern aesthetic, then the names Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman might roll off their tongues just as easily. Now, where does the Eisenhower name fit within this stylish mix? Eisenhower Medical Center’s newest Palm Springs location at 415 South Palm Canyon is a Donald Wexler–designed building that has been completely remodeled, with a few pieces from the Ackermans as well as photos from Palm Springs photographer Dan Chavkin. The Eisenhower Health Center at South Palm Canyon is not only a state-of-the-art health care facility, but also a midcentury modern treasure. To celebrate the unveiling, a living design legend will be onhand—Jerome Ackerman—for Masters of Midcentury California Design: The Story of Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman on Saturday, February 14.
No celebration of modernism would be complete without a lecture and tours by Charles Phoenix, the Kodachrome-loving, western bow tie–wearing walking encyclopedia of Googie. Catch him on Saturday, February 14 for his talk, Charles Phoenix: Carousels of Kodachrome at the Palm Springs Art Museum, and again the weekend of February 21 and 22 for a one-of-a-kind tour of the town's hidden modernist gems: Palm Springs Super Duper Double Decker Bus Tour.
Join Adele Cygelman, author of Palm Springs Modern and a contributor to the new book The Desert Modernists, for William "Bill" Cody at St. Theresa's Saturday, February 21. The presentation will include a brief overview of his design for the church and the family’s connection to the parish by his youngest daughter Catherine Cody Nemirovsky. A book signing at the Palm Springs Art Museum's new Architecture and Design Center will follow.
Join KCRW host and Dwell on Design speaker Frances Anderton on Saturday, February 14, at CAMP, Modernism Week's new hub, for Swimming in Succulents: A New Playground for Palm Springs, a talk on the evolution of iconic Palm Springs backyard culture. Panelists include designer Brad Dunning, President of the Board of Directors of Desert Water Agency Craig Ewing, Director of Education and Environmental Programs Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands Michaeleen Gallagher, and Director of Golf Course Operations at Rancho La Quinta Stu Rowland.
Modernism Week will recognize internationally acclaimed modernist architect Richard Neutra with a special dedication ceremony on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars on Friday, February 13. The free event presents a unique opportunity to celebrate one of the most notable architects in the history of Palm Springs, and to recognize his contribution to midcentury modern architecture—most notably in the form of the Kaufmann house in Palm Springs.
Modernism Week Show House: The Christopher Kennedy Compound celebrates the Palm Springs legacy of midcentury modern architecture and jet set American style. "Last year's home was built in 1971," says Christopher Kennedy. "It was beautiful and glamorous, befitting the Palm Springs legacy of Hollywood celebrities and great design. Tones of gray, black, and white prevailed. This year's home was built in 1964. It is actually a little smaller. I asked the designers to take the design a little less seriously. We will see lots of white, creamy tones. I asked the designers to be playful and I set a color palette of blues and greens...my favorite hues in the desert. Think the green of the golf courses and succulent plants; the azure of the desert sky and the turquoise of the pool water." Contributing designers include Bobby Berk, Linda Allen, Michael Berman, Trip Haenisch, and Dwell on Design speakers Mark Cutler and Vanessa De Vargas. A VIP gala the evening of Friday, February 13, will help kick things off.