Indigenous people once came to Palm Springs as a refuge, long before the stars of Hollywood flocked to the sun-drenched destination for movie making, pool parties, and boozy nights. Just like the pandemic of 2020, people historically left the confines of big city living for wide-open spaces where many, whose lives had been disrupted by war, found themselves on permanent vacation. Bungalows and smaller-sized secondary homes (compared to many of their Los Angeles abodes) sprouted up since American show business icons were required to be within two hours of the studios.
Today the desert landscape continues to evolve as visitors flock from all over the world for golf and tennis, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Gay Pride, Desert X, music festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach, and soon, wave pool resorts for surfers.
But there’s another huge draw to the Greater Palm Springs area and that is Modernism Week, which spans 11 days this February 2022. The popular annual festival will feature hundreds of events including the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale and tours of iconic homes in more than 25 neighborhoods. Now in its 15th year, Modernism is another way the desert is revisiting the past – through the celebration of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion, and retro culture.
Since buying our own 70s Palm Springs home during the pandemic a few doors down from the Frank Sinatra estate in Movie Colony East, we have become obsessed with the Modernist movement. Take a drive through neighborhoods like the Movie Colony, Deepwell, Vista Las Palmas, or Indian Canyons, and it’s easy to garner a taste of these architectural desert beauties because Palm Springs holds the largest concentration of midcentury modern homes in America. Making midcentury ‘modern’ can be felt in the pronounced pops of color on each door as you cruise around – preferably on a bike.