Fine Print: Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise

Back in February, when we really needed the sunshine, I received a review copy of this design book by photographer Tim Street-Porter. As you might imagine, Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise by Tim Street-Porter (Rizzoli, February 2018) showcases the mid-century modern architecture of Palm Springs, a modern desert oasis.

Examples include jet-set homes designed by Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, and Paul Williams, as well as private residences by tastemakers, including fashion designer Trina Turk, who penned the book’s foreword and owns a home there.

The pages are glossy and gorgeous; it makes a good housewarming gift if you’re spending the weekend with any modernists this summer.

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise Rizzoli 2018

Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise by Tim Street-Porter

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise Living Room

Living room of Trina Turk’s home The Ship of the Desert. It was designed by Los Angeles architects Adrian Wilson and Earle Webster in 1936 in the architectural style is known as Streamline Moderne. The sofas are Vladimir Kagan.

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise Preppy Dining Room

President Gerald and Betty Ford’s home, which they commissioned after Ford’s defeat by Jimmy Carter in 1976. It’s designed by architect Welton Becket, who designed the Capitol Records Building and Pan-Pacific Auditorium in L.A. This is the dining room, which still contains the original dining table, chairs, and wall murals. (The chandelier is a later addition.) Annie Leibovitz shot this portrait of Betty Ford here in this dining room.

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise Conversation Pit

Designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard bought Villa Grigio in 2014. It was designed by architect James McNaughton in 1964. The site was originally part of the Barbara Hutton estate, near the first Palm Springs residence of Frank Sinatra. This is the living room’s sunken conversation pit. The view looks out bowed glass windows to the patio and pool.

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise Round Tub

The master bath of Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s Villa Grigio echoes the living room design.

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise White Eames Chair

This is a minimalist glass house designed by William F. Cody in 1967. It has views across the Coachella Valley.  The master bedroom, complete with an Eames lounge and Mies van der Rohe Barcelona daybed, opens to the pool.

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise Desert Architecture

The Albert Frey House II, which the architect designed for himself on a steeply sloped lot overlooking the city of Palm Springs, 220 feet above the desert floor. It’s built right inot the rocks.


Design Diary: The Saguaro Palm Springs

The Saguaro Palm Springs, brought to you by the developers of the Ace Hotel, opened last week, just in time for Modernism Week and well in time for those heading out for April music festival Coachella.

Designed by NYC-based Peter Stamberg & Paul Aferiat of Stamberg Aferiat Architecture, the hotel is a re-vamped a three-story Holiday Inn from 1977, re-imagined in serious Technicolor. The color palette reflects the vibrancy of the Southwest, in hues derived from 14 indigenous flowers of the Mojave Desert.

Guest rooms boast multicolored striped bedding, orange furniture, a bubble gum pink accent wall, and royal purple carpeting. A wood table and chairs and black and white images by Palm Springs photographer Jim Cornett ground the rooms with a bit of natural realism.

There are 245 rooms, a second floor public space with a wild red Bird-of-Paradise wallpaper on the ceiling, an expansive pool in a lush courtyard complete with a cabana pool bar, a spa, and two restaurants by Iron Chef Jose Garces, one with a tequila bar, the other with a wine bar.

The Saguro Palm Springs, 1800 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, California.