Palm Springs Modernism Week: Crazy Cool Pads

Check out the highlights of this swinging desert display of midcentury design, architecture art, and culture.

Photo by Tara Wujcik Photography The Siva House, designed in 1959 by Hugh M. Kaptur, is a popular stop on one of several home tours that take you behind closed doors of private homes that exemplify midcentury modern design, during Palm Springs Modernism Week. 

You can hardly hear the words 'Palm Springs' without envisioning Frank Sinatra sipping cocktails with Ava Gardner and the rest of the Rat Pack. Or perhaps Bob Hope and Dinah Shore swinging their putters and exchanging golf tips. Maybe even Marilyn Monroe, in a sleek maillot and oversized sunglasses, reclining on a lounge by a sparkling pool. Once a year, this swingingest of eras is celebrated during Palm Springs Modernism Week, which highlights fabulous midcentury design, architecture, art and culture. And just in case you didn’t get the chance to cruise down to the desert in your baby blue convertible caddy, we’re here to give you the highlights, Daddy-O.

Modernism Week actually spans 10 days and includes Palm Springs Art Museum films, lectures and symposium, gallery openings and art events, double-decker bus tours to midcentury architectural classics, a vintage car show, plus the desert's best retro-themed soirees and martini parties.

One of the highlights was the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale, a four-day design showcase featuring more than 80 national and international exhibitors presenting unique collections of furnishings, decorative objects and fine arts from all design movements of the 20th century. It was a one-of-a-kind opportunity to scoop up some of best examples of midcentury modern furniture, art and accessories ever curated in one place.

Modernism Week also gives you the opportunity to go behind the closed doors of private houses like the Siva House (also known as the Russell House) designed in 1959 by Hugh M. Kaptur. Located right downtown, this property is extremely private, set at the end of a gated street. Renowned architect Albert Frey designed additions to the Siva House, including the infinity pool, one of the first of its kind in the desert. Owners Mark and Liz Ostoich, collectors at heart, have assembled a home popping with midcentury modern furnishings and art.

Another popular modernist home is the Skuris/DeCancio House, originally designed by Stan Sackley in 1987 for use as his own private residence. Sackley is one of Palm Springs’ favorite architects. The house was renovated in 2006-2007 by architect and designer Philip DeCancio, one of the current homeowners. Although it was built more recently, the house is an homage to the modernist era, showing how those sensibilities can merge with state-of-the-art technology and materials.

Photo courtesy of Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale Those who attended the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale had to the chance to purchase Alexander Calder's "Environment and Evolution" from Palette Contemporary Art & Craft for $5,750.

In case you missed it, you can relive the glory of Modernism Week via the Man About Modernism web series from Stephen Collins of Bravo's Property Envy, which celebrates modern design, architecture and culture. We’ll keep you posted on next year’s event. And in the meantime, keep on shaking those cocktails!

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