In its 12 years, Modernism Week has grown from a small 20th century design show in Palm Springs to a citywide celebration of Midcentury Modern architecture and design and preservation.
When Robert Imber hosted the event’s first double-decker bus architecture tour, he says he anchored four tours over one weekend.
“The second year, we added another weekend and did four more,” says Imber, one of the founders of Modernism Week. “The third year we added five more.” Today, there are more than 80 bus tours at the event running Feb. 16-26, and tickets are selling fast.
What is it about Modernism that resonates today?
“It has always been popular because it was simple, light and airy,” says set decorator Claudette Didul, whose credits include “Mad Men.” “I have been using it in sets since the late ’80s because it goes with everything. Because most of it is so well made, it has had a resurgence. And it works well in tiny places. It's not heavy and blocky like some furniture can be.”
For Imber, Midcentury Modern’s appeal and longevity is simple: “Good is good,” he says.
Here, we offer a list of 10 events that, as of our deadline, are still available. For a list of all events, go to www.modernismweek.com.
Explore colorful doors on this self-guided bike tour sponsored by Dunn Edwards. Bring your own bike, or rent one when you check-in at the Saguaro Palm Springs. Bikes must be reserved in advance by contacting Bike Palm Springs at bikepsrentals.com or by calling (760) 832-8912. Feb. 19 and 26. $20.
View one of the best-preserved examples of an E. Stewart Williams-designed home in a tour of the 1953 Edris house on Feb. 19 hosted by the Palm Springs Modern Committee. $35.
Designers Barclay Butera, Gray Malin, Joy Cho and others transform the rooms of Instagram sensation and style guru Kelly Golightly’s home in the Andreas Hills neighborhood as part of designer Christopher Kennedy’s popular annual show house. Multiple dates. $40.
The Palm Springs Preservation Foundation hosts a tour of the 1962 William F. Cody-designed Abernathy residence. The 4,680-square-foot, pavilion-style house has been completely restored and features rare Midcentury furniture and decorative arts. Feb. 21. $45.
More than 80 dealers from around the world exhibit furniture and decorative and fine arts from the 20th century, with a special emphasis on Midcentury Modern. Feb. 18-20. Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, Palm Springs. $20; includes show catalog and repeat entry.
View the exteriors of architectural landmarks such as William Krisel’s House of Tomorrow, Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House and E. Stewart Williams’ legendary “Twin Palms” estate, the former residence of Frank Sinatra, from the top of a double-decker bus. Feb. 17-26. $85.
The Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture and Design Council hosts docent-led tours of Frey House II, the residence of Modernist architect Albert Frey. A van shuttles participants from the Palm Springs Art Museum's box office. A reception is included with the last tour of the day. Feb. 20-25. $60 tour; $125 tour and reception.
A daylong exploration of Mexico’s influence on Modernism includes four presentations, a box lunch at the Muse Cafe and entrance to the Palm Springs Art Museum. Program includes lectures on the Sunnylands fountain; Mexico City and the 1968 Summer Olympics; Luis Barragan and the Gardens of El Pedregal; and Volcanic Modernism: The University City of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Feb. 20. $49.
Learn how to update your Midcentury home in this seminar, followed by a self-driven tour of three homes that have been completely restored. Addresses and directions provided following the seminar. For tour only, addresses will be emailed to ticket buyers in advance of the tour. Feb. 19-20. Seminar or tour only, $30; both, $50.
Los Angeles cultural historian Charles Phoenix hosts a comedy slide show celebrating space-age automotive styling: bizarre show cars, station wagons and colorful convertibles. A mimosa reception follows. Feb. 18. $50.
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