For midcentury modern fans like me, a trip to Palm Springs is an aesthetic pilgrimage well worth taking. This bastion of MCM style and architecture is sure to please design aficionados, whether they prefer clean modernist lines or Hollywood Regency flair. Here are three things all MCM lovers should know about modernism in Palm Springs.
That’s right, Palm Springs has its own brand of modernism. Desert modernism is known for its particular use of glass, clean lines, natural and manufactured resources and informal indoor/outdoor spaces. To see examples of this stunning architecture in and around Palm Springs, stop by the Palm Springs Visitor Center, grab a map of mid-century modern landmarks, and prepare to be impressed.
Palm Canyon Drive
Looking to take home a fabulous midcentury souvenir? Head to Palm Canyon Drive, home to a wide array of fashion and home accessories vintage stores. You’re sure to find a treasure or two at the following vintage spots that specialize in unique modernist finds: Déjà Vu Vintage Finery, 20 First Vintage and Modern, Orbit In, or Vintage Oasis. The Palm Canyon Galleria features a large selection of art and furniture pieces by contemporary artists and craftspeople, as well as classic midcentury art and furniture.
If you’re lucky enough to take a trip to Palm Springs mid-February, be sure to attend some of the Modernism Week events. This annual event showcases the very best of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion, and culture. Choose from over 100 events including home tours, films, lectures, bus tours, cocktail parties, walking tours, vintage fashion shows, live music events, a vintage trailer exhibition, and so much more. Columbus Day weekend is also a great time to visit, because the Modernism Week organizers partner with area stores and venues to host a “mini Modernism Week” that serves to kick off the active fall and winter season in sunny Palm Springs.
Photo: Jerry Shea