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On Scene: Modernism Week 2020

Written by Kelly Weimert on Wednesday, January 29th, 2020 at 10:05am.

Source: modernismweek.com

Anyone who loves the clean lines, classic silhouettes, and elegant simplicity of mid-century modern architecture and design will love what Modernism Week 2020 has in store. The annual festival attracts thousands of people to Palm Springs to celebrate what makes this timeless design style so iconic. 

With a mission to encourage modernist education, preservation, and sustainability, Modernism Week hosts more than 350 events, including home tours, lectures, exhibitions, and parties. We received a taste of what this year’s festival has to offer during the Fall Preview, but it’s shaping up to be even bigger than we anticipated. 

Some of the highlights this year include a keynote presentation by internationally acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind who designed innovative landmarks like the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the master plan of the World Trade Center. During his presentation, Libeskind will discuss his creative process and the stories behind some of his most important projects while presenting original sketches, plans, and photographs. He’ll also cover his unlikely rise to architectural fame after being born to Holocaust survivors in a Polish homeless shelter. 

Kaufmann Desert House
Kaufmann Desert House / Source: modmansions.com

If you prefer your modernism with a side of fresh air, then be sure to snag a ticket to Modernism Week’s signature bus tour. You’ll hop aboard a premier double-decker bus and enjoy a 2.5-hour tour of some of Palm Springs’ most significant residential and commercial structures. The open-air experience will take you to sites like the McCallum Adobe, the oldest existing structure in Palm Springs, and Albert Frey’s historic Frey House II, perched high atop the mountainside. Other stops include William Krisel’s House of Tomorrow and Richard Neutra’s the Kaufmann Desert House. 

You can also get up close and personal with some of the area’s most beautiful modernist homes, touring residences like Miles Bates’ “Wave” House, designated on the National Register of Historic Places. Known for its curving roof that seamlessly blends with the San Jacinto mountains behind it, the house was designed by architect and inventor Walter S. White in the 1950s and meticulously restored to its original form. 

The Cree House by  Albert Frey
The Cree House / Source: palmspringslife.com

Fans of Albert Frey (which, let’s face it, is all of us) can delight in a personal walk-through tour of the Cree House, Frey’s most intact residential work. Owned by a single family since the early 1970s, the owners spent the last two years working to preserve and restore the home to its original 1955 condition. You’ll get to see the architect’s signature design elements firsthand, including jutting balconies with corrugated fiberglass railings and thin roof overhangs. 

In addition to boundless tours and talks, Modernism Week hosts a number of parties that allow you to mingle with like-minded design enthusiasts. The week kicks off with a Preview Party, giving partygoers a sneak peek of the Modernism Show & Sale before it opens to the general public, which includes a wide variety of modernist furniture, decor, and fine art accompanied by hors d’oeuvres and live music. You can also attend parties throughout the week that range from casual poolside mixers to upscale cocktail parties in architecturally unique properties. 

Modernism Week 2020 takes place on February 13th through the 23rd. You can purchase tickets, find accommodations, and learn more about the various tours, lectures, and parties here.

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