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Lifestyle, sightseeing

A Complete Guide to Palm Springs Modernism Week 2018

February 1, 2018 by Christina Champlin

Palm Springs Modernism Week returns February 15-25 to celebrate all things mid-century modern, including architecture, art, interior and landscape design, and vintage culture. The 11-day event will host engaging talks, panel discussions and presentations with leaders in the field, along with a packed roster of stellar home and building tours.

This past October I attended a Modernism Week Preview where I was able to see some of the best that’s in store for 2018. As a mid-century modern fan I was ecstatic to get a glimpse inside some of the most fascinating homes of the California desert, and of course I’m eager to share the highlights from my visit with readers of We Like L.A.

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If It’s Your First Time at Modernism Week

For first-timers I highly recommend taking the Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour. This was where I learned key mid-century modern terminology, as well as the locations of celebrity homes both past and present.

the gand house palm springs

Photo Credit: Christina Champlin/We Like L.A.

Did you know, for example, that the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” Elvis Presley honeymooned in a round pink house? It’s called The Alexander House. That’s the kind of stuff you’ll learn and see while on the tour.

alexander estate palm springs

Photo Credit: Christina Champlin/We Like L.A.

There will be a number of self-guided tours at some of the most stunning homes in Palm Springs, as well as cocktail parties and receptions at select homes. You’ll likely leave Modernism Week with new knowledge, a keen eye for design, and fond appreciation for the city of Palm Springs and its ongoing efforts to preserve and celebrate the impact that mid-century modern design has had on the city.

If you do plan on attending Modernism Week, I’d recommend you also check out our guides to Palm Springs for more Fun Things To Do and Best Places To Eat to complete your visit.

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Okay, now on to the Modernism event highlights!

palm springs mondernism week

Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Modernism Week 2018 Highlights

This is one jam-packed week of events! So far, tickets for the earlier half of the week are almost sold out, but don’t worry: almost all events repeat themselves daily, so chances are there are still tickets for the latter half of the week.

New this year is the Modernism Week Showcase Home featuring three distinct architectural gems. You can visit a Moroccan Modern built in 1975 that was designed by architect Hal Lacy; Hidden Frey, a newly restored 1966 tennis estate designed by renowned Palm Springs architect Albert Frey; and Maison a l’Orange, a stunning home featuring a soaring roofline and a Googie-inspired lounge with exquisite retro vibes. Tickets are $30 (plus fees) for each home showcase.

moroccan modern thomboy properties palm springs

Photo Credit: Christina Champlin/We Like L.A.

Also added is the Atomic Ranch Live: Seminars, Workshops + House Tours. Trusted mid-century modern resource Atomic Ranch will present expert advice on real estate, interior design, and restoration with a three-part series moderated by Atomic Ranch brand leader Sarah Jane Stone. Each session will be followed by a tour of local “mid-mod” homes where attendees can meet with the makers and experts that turned the homes into the gems they are today. Tickets cost $45 a person.

Modernism Week will also offer a new Architecture and Design Film Series. Created in conjunction with the American Documentary Film Festival, the three-day series will be held at Palm Springs’ Camelot Theatre. Most programs are priced at $12, with the exception of two feature films. A special VIP screening pass allowing entry to every film in the series is available for $159.

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del marcos hotel palm springs

Photo Credit: Christina Champlin/We Like L.A.

Here are my personal event suggestions to attend, along with direct links to more information. Most events mentioned are recurring, so check for suitable additional dates to fit your visit.

Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour
Architectural Bike Ride (North)
Shag’s “The Imposters” Print Release Party w/Martini Kings Playing Live!
Modernism Week Showcase Home – Moroccan Modern
Tiki Beat at Royal Hawaiian Estates dance party
El Rancho Vista Estates Home Tour
Merito Manor: Iconic folded-roof homes by Barry Berkus, 1961
“Albert Frey: Part 1 – The Architectural Envoy” World Premiere Film and Reception
“Living the Modern II” Home Tour and Cocktail Reception
ARRIVE 2 Year Anniversary Party
Carl E. Haymond Residence Tour
Hotel Lautner opens for the first time as The Lautner Compound
Modernism Week Featured Home – Maison a l’Orange
Modernism Week Featured Home – Hidden Frey
Albert Frey’s Architecture: Technology and Nature in Harmony
Sunmor Estates Mid-century Home Tour
From Googie to Gehry
Da Vaal Estates home tour puts the X in Extraordinary
Modernism Yard Sale

Tickets for Modernism Week events vary in price, starting at $10 and going up from there. Keep in mind that there are many free events throughout the week as well.

Keep in mind Modernism Week also functions as a non-profit charitable organization providing scholarships to local Palm Springs students pursuing college educations in the fields of architecture and design, as well as giving grants to local and state organizations for their efforts to preserve modernist architecture throughout the state of California. A portion of each ticket sold goes to benefit these causes.

Find more information as well as tickets at www.modernismweek.com

Also Worth Knowing

The 18th annual Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale takes place at the Palm Springs Convention Center February 16-19 in conjunction with Modernism Week. This special event showcases contemporary cutting-edge home-design products and technology. Guests can meet design creators and buy directly from the source. Tickets for the Friday preview gala are $85. Weekend admission costs $20 and gets you return entry and a catalog.

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