Modernism Week, the annual festival that highlights midcentury modern architecture, art, interior and landscape design, and vintage culture in the Palm Springs area of Southern California, will offer more than 85 informative and entertaining talks, panel discussions and other presentations at various locations during the 11-day event that runs February 15-25, 2018. A distinguished array of speakers – all leaders in their fields – will share their knowledge and insights with Modernism Week audiences each day of the event. Tickets range from $10 – 45 for talks and panels. Some of the talks include tours of related buildings and are priced at $50 or more. Tickets may be purchased at modernismweek.com, and a portion of ticket proceeds benefit Modernism Week (a non-profit organization) and other local preservation, neighborhood and community groups.
The Modernism Week Keynote Presentation is “Martyn Lawrence Bullard and Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise” on February 17, 2018. Bullard is Palm Springs’ best-known designer of this century and is consistently named as a top designer in many publications including Architectural Digest, Elle Décor and the Hollywood Reporter. He has also hosted and appeared on television programs in his native UK as well as in the United States. Through his eponymous design firm in Los Angeles, Bullard’s reach extends beyond his own lines of furniture, textiles and accessories in the creation of dramatic collections for luxury brands both domestically and internationally. Appearing as Modernism Week’s Keynote Speaker, Bullard will share what it is like to design homes for his celebrity clientele including the Kardashians, Cher and Tommy Hilfiger. Attendees will learn more about how Bullard is continually inspired by Palm Springs and how he went about the renovation of Villa Grigio, his 1963 Movie Colony hideaway by architect James McNaughton. The Keynote Presentation will be at the Richards Center for the Arts (at the Palm Springs High School at 2248 Ramon Road). Immediately following the Keynote Presentation, Bullard will join a panel discussion with photographer and author Tim Street-Porter and additional designers whose work is highlighted in Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise. Bullard’s residence Graces the cover of the book. Mayer Rus, writer, editor and contributor to Architectural Digest will moderate and Trina Turk, noted fashion designer who wrote the foreword of the book, will emcee this event. The Keynote Address starts at 3 PM and tickets are $20 for General Admission, $35 for Preferred Seating or $90 for Preferred Seating and a copy of the book.
This year, Modernism Week will offer “Hollywood Revisited: A Glamorous Musical Theater Extravaganza.” This unique event celebrates many of the great Hollywood films of the 1940s to the 60s, a period of time in Hollywood so closely associated with Palm Springs. Acclaimed vocalists sing and dance to movie-related music while wearing the original costumes of the films. Greg Schreiner, one of the most well known collectors of classic movie costumes and a concert pianist, provides the musical accompaniment and entertaining anecdotes about the designer, the movie and the scene, while on screen, the costumes and the stars wearing them are shown as originally seen by moviegoers. This must-see event happens February 22 at 6 PM and tickets are $50 – $65.
Women have played an important role in the history of Palm Springs as well as design. Several informative talks, all held on February 19, will honor these Legendary Women of Design. Attendees that wish to see all four Legendary Woman of Design presentations may wish to purchase a $60 special ticket package and save $20. These include:
“The Sea Ranch and Barbara Stauffacher Solomon,” 10 AM $20
Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher and Joseph Becker will discuss the conception and influences of The Sea Ranch, an architecturally and culturally significant residential development on the coast of California, north of San Francisco. Participating with them will be the renowned graphic artist, Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, who early in her 61-year career, created the groundbreaking design of the ram’s head logo, graphic identity, and supergraphics at The Sea Ranch.
“Ruth Adler Schnee: A Search for Perfection,” 1 PM, $20
Ruth Adler Schnee is one of the pioneers of midcentury modern design. She was among the first women hired in the design office of Raymond Loewy (1945) and received a scholarship to the Cranbrook Academy of Art (1946). Inspired by her winning design for the Chicago Tribune competition, “Better Homes for Better Living” (1947), she launched a career designing and silkscreening abstract shapes onto textiles. Her bold, colorful designs demonstrate a uniquely personal synthesis of prevailing modernist trends, from streamlining to biomorphic modern, merging aesthetic pleasure with intellectual provocation. Over the course of her 70-year career, she had collaborations with midcentury masters Eero Saarinen, Minoru Yamasaki, and Frank Lloyd Wright and garnered numerous awards.
“Then & Now, Designing Women at General Motors,” 2:30 PM, $20
This insiders view by Susan Skarsgard, Design Manager at GM Design Archive & Special Collections, captures the rich history of the trailblazing women designers from the 1940s to the present, with a largely untold and surprising story that highlights the critical role women have played in automotive and industrial design at General Motors. This story will be presented with a link to GM’s design history and a personal perspective on how Skarsgard’s own career path has been informed and influenced by this profound story.
“Just Add Sunshine: The Extraordinary Career of Gere Kavanaugh,” 4 PM, $20
To round out this series of presentations, Modernism Week welcomes one of the design world’s legendary women, Gere Kavanaugh. Her 60-year career has extensively influenced the design industry, particularly the fields of textiles, furniture, interior design, exhibitions, ceramics and graphics. Many of her groundbreaking designs—characterized by bold color, sharp lines and rich textures—are now commonplace, such as the square market umbrella. Kavanaugh’s work can be found in galleries, landmarks, museums and books across the world and has developed projects for corporate clients including Pepsi, Neutrogena and Warner Brothers, and a line of dinnerware for CB2.
The concept of influential women in design continues with “Secrets, Lies and Wallpaper: The Life and Designs of Florence Broadhurst” on February 22 at 10:30 AM. Participants will join interior designer and design educator Annalisa Capurro, aka Ms. Modernism, to hear the extraordinary story of flamboyant Australian midcentury designer and entrepreneur Florence Broadhurst, a wallpaper designer, who established a luxury, hand-printed wallpaper business in Sydney in 1959 at age 60. Known for her bold, oversized patterns and vivid color combinations, her designs were exported internationally. Always innovative, Broadhurst created a technique for printing onto metallic surfaces and developed a practical, washable vinyl. Today Broadhurst’s designs grace public and private interiors worldwide and feature in collaborations with companies such as Qantas and Kate Spade NY. Recognized by Time Magazine as one of the most influential post-war designers, Florence Broadhurst leaves a legacy as bold and colorful as her extraordinary life. Tickets for this presentation are $20.
Architect Paul Revere Williams will be honored in several ways during Modernism Week. On Friday, February 16 the public is invited to attend a special dedication on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars for Paul R. Williams, one of the key architects (along with A. Quincy Jones and Donald Wexler) responsible for the iconic Town and Country Center in Palm Springs. The star ceremony will be held at 2 PM at the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion at 300 S. Palm Canyon Drive.
In addition, Modernism Week with feature two talks about Williams and his influence in midcentury modern architecture.
“Paul Revere Williams: Architect to the Stars…and Everyone Else,” February 16, 9AM, $12
Paul Revere Williams is an important part of Southern California’s architectural legacy. He’s well known for his sumptuous residential designs for movie stars, entertainment and business leaders, mastering a range of styles from Southern Colonial to Spanish Colonial, from Hollywood Regency to Modern. While residential design would remain an important part of his practice, in the course of his five-decade career, Williams designed thousands of buildings of all types, served on many municipal, state and federal commissions, and was active in political and social organizations earning the admiration and respect of his peers.
“The Creative Collaboration of Paul R. Williams and A. Quincy Jones,” February 16,12:30 PM, $12
The dynamic working relationship between Paul R. Williams and his former employee A. Quincy Jones is evidenced in two striking projects in Palm Springs: the Palm Springs Tennis Club Addition completed in 1947, and the Town and Country Restaurant completed in 1948. Shortly after the tennis club was completed, Williams and Jones were commissioned to remodel the Top of the Ramp restaurant, which required using the existing footings and basement. Situated within the Town and Country Center, an early mixed-use complex in Palm Springs, the sweeping entrance stairs and dramatic cantilevered canopy of the restaurant drew the public in to a warm space with furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames. This presentation will explore the collaborative relationship between Williams and Jones.
“From Googie to Gehry” examines the formal and theoretical inventions pioneered in California Modernism and their subsequent connections to many of the works of well-known contemporary firms located in Los Angeles. Topics covered include an embracing of experimentation, a keen interest in the relationship of architecture and the commercial, and of course the interaction of “indoors and outdoors” only possible in the mild California climate. Following the presentation, Christopher Mount and William Menking will engage in a lively discussion on the state of today’s architecture in Southern California. The presentation will be on February 23 at 9 AM and tickets are $12.
Los Angeles Conservancy President & CEO Linda Dishman shares stories of how her nonprofit group has worked to save significant modern buildings from demolition in “Learning From Los Angeles: Strategies for Saving Modern Buildings.” During the presentation, Dishman will reveal strategies and tactics that have rallied community support, convinced private developers, and sparked action from elected officials to successfully preserve dozens of historic structures throughout Los Angeles County. It will be held February 18 at 12:30 PM. Tickets are $12.
The Dymaxion House is a futuristic dwelling machine designed by Buckminster Fuller in the mid-1940’s as a prototype tension structure. This innovative project will be profiled in a special presentation called “Dymaxion House – R. Buckminster Fuller’s 1946 Futuristic Dwelling Machine.” Constructed from a lightweight aluminum-copper alloy and meant to be mass-produced in aircraft factories, it was going to solve America’s housing crisis after WWII and included many futuristic, labor-saving innovations. In the years following the prototype’s construction, The Dymaxion House was modified, exposed to the outdoor environment, and the structure was eventually abandoned. The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn MI acquired it in 1991 and undertook a three-year conservation program. In 2001, it opened as a permanent exhibition in the museum. This presentation will tell the story of the development of the Dymaxion House, the initial conservation program and changes that have been made over the years to accommodate visitor traffic, as well discuss how The Henry Ford, a large indoor/outdoor American history attraction, approaches sustainable, long-term operational/interactive exhibitions. It will take place on February 20 at 10:30 AM. Tickets are $12.
In anticipation of the upcoming new film “Incredibles 2,” to be released June, 2018, Modernism Week welcomes Pixar’s Oscar-winning production designer Ralph Eggleston to discuss how Eggleston and his production team of artists, illustrators and designers use real world architecture and design to support storytelling and present a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the elaborate creative process of animation. Fans of “The Incredibles” remember the very modern look and feel of the animated film inspired by modernist icons – a visual tour of urban architecture, furniture and décor featuring intelligent mutations of some classic midcentury modern designs. “Disney•Pixar’s INCREDIBLES 2 – Storytelling with Art & Architecture” will be on February 18 at 2 and tickets are $12.
In addition to these and many other compelling presentations, talks and panel discussions, Modernism Week will also offer a new Architecture and Design Film Series. Created in conjunction with the American Documentary Film Festival (AmDocs), the inaugural Architecture and Design Film Series will be held over three days on the big screen at the Camelot Theater, located at 2300 E. Baristo Road in Palm Springs and will feature 26 films, documentaries and short films grouped into 14 programs. Most programs are priced at $12, with the exception of two feature films. A special VIP screening pass, which provides entry to all films in the series, is available for $159.
Modernism Week’s signature 11-day event will take place February 15-25, 2018. To receive updates, visit modernismweek.com and sign up for Modernism Weekly, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The Hilton Palm Springs Resort, Modernism Week’s official host hotel, is offering a special room rate for a limited time only. Contact them directly at 760-320-6868.