Palm Springs has long been the perfect playground for Californian artists and architects. The desert landscape offers an expanse of space and natural beauty to inspire visionaries to create timeless pieces which blend seamlessly with the surrounding terrain.
In fact, the dramatic geographic surroundings of Palm Springs inspired a generation of talented architects to create an entirely new design aesthetic, which remains much sought-after to this day. Desert Modernism came to life in the mid-20th century, using sleek design, clean lines, and organic materials such as wood and glass to evoke a lifestyle of pure elegance and informality. Palm Springs is both its birthplace and its mecca.
To get a real taste of the finest in mid-century modern architecture, plan your visit to Palm Springs during Modernism Week, which is taking place February 12 – 24, and offers talks, tours and parties not available at other times. You can hop on the premiere double-decker architectural bus tour to get the full scope of the most significant mid-century treasures of Palm Springs, check out the Modernism Show at the convention center, get exclusive interior design tours, and join in some swanky evening events as well. However, architecture tours are available all year long, so skip the lines for a more low-key experience at a time of your choice.
To see some of the newest feats of design ingenuity popping up in the desert, come to Palm Springs during Desert X, running February 9 - April 21. This popular biennial, site-specific art exhibition celebrates the unique opportunities for creativity in the desert landscapes of the Coachella Valley. Artists from around the world are invited to create installations using the desert as their canvas, to showcase the landscape itself as an exhibition space and explore the theme put so insightfully by Balzac: “The desert is God without men.”
If you can’t make it to these events, worry not: the leading edge Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, also known as the A+D Center, is open year-round. For all you design aficionados, this museum holds significant portions of the Albert Frey, E. Stewart Williams, Arthur Elrod/Harold Broderick, and Hugh Kaptur archives. The collection also includes Frey House II, the historically significant residence in Palm Springs that architect Albert Frey designed for himself in 1963 and bequeathed to the museum upon his death in 1998.
Plus, with the huge variety of mid-century architecture in Palm Springs, you can always book a few nights in one of the gorgeous boutique hotels, or even rent out your own celebrity house or estate to experience desert-modernism at its finest.
So what are you waiting for? Satiate that design bug and book your trip to Palm Springs today.
Contact the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism for information on lodging, dining, and the best attractions. Call 760-778-8418 or go to www.visitpalmsprings.com.