Modernism Week in Palm Springs

As a Mid-Century Modern enthusiast, my annual visit to Palm Springs for their famous Modernism Week is always cemented into my calendar.  

A breezy two-hour drive from Los Angeles, this event is the pinnacle for anyone passionate about Modern design and architecture. Driving around Palm Springs (and of course we drive, as it is LA) felt like entering the the 1950’s America. 




Image above: The Kaufmann House (design by Richard Neutra) in Palm Springs

The Carl Hansen CH07 Chair in the honeymoon home of Elvis Presley
Twin Palms by E Stewart Williams, designed for Frank Sinatra
The desert landscape provided a dramatic backdrop against the geometric, square forms of the new Palm Springs architecture

Post World War Two, many European emigrees made Palm Springs their home, and with it’s expansive landscape and dessert, the city became a haven for the Modern movement. The European designers using the space to break away from traditional styles ultimately attracting Hollywood celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley who wanted to escape the city lights and attention in Los Angeles.

A highlight for me this year was, for the first time, I stopped by the (re-imagined) honeymoon house of Elvis and Priscilla Presley – Danish design included!

Elrod House, designed by John Lutner featured in the James Bond film, Diamonds are Forever

The desert setting provided a blank canvas for experimentation, creating a landscape dotted with iconic modernist structures. The cross-polination of experimentation, recent European influences and the expansive landscape resulted in a distinct architectural language, and some of the most celebrated buildings in the US.

Furnishing the homes were icons of the European Modernists, and pieces from the Danish Modern designers regularly featured in the newly built homes. The CH07 from Carl Hansen, designed by Hans J Wegner can be seen within the home famous for hosting Elvis Presley’s honeymoon.

For anyone visiting Palm Spring’s during Modernism Week, the various vintage furniture stores are a mecca for Mid-Century Modern enthusiasts – and not to mention, a sustainable way to shop.

Exploring Palm Springs during Modernism Week is a truly unique experience that takes you back in time to the celebrated period. There is no doubt that I will be back next year.