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Ala Mod(e)

midcentury architecture

Palm Springs Modernism

Reflection offers a glimpse of who we are and how far we have come. Our foremothers and forefathers built a legacy that connects yesteryear with the now and here. Palm Springs modernism represents the ways in which previous generations envisioned the years ahead; they were planning it all for us. Their blueprints represent our history as much as they embrace our vibrant present tense.

And no schematics juxtapose these ideals better than midcentury modernity.

The space-race/space-age Palm Springs modernism is simultaneously cool, cozy, and boldly futuristic. Blast to the past with some expert help from our passionate community of aesthetic enthusiasts…

Beautiful mid-century modern home in Palm Springs

Palm Springs Modernism Architectural Tours

The swooping contours of our city’s retro rooftops draw your eye seductively through town, but it’s easy to get distracted without the proper guide. Go inside the angular proceedings of construction at its most geometric with The Modern Tour, an upscale glide to our glamorous side.

Interiors have no superior when you ride with Palm Springs Mod Squad, an excursion that gets up close and perfect with some of the most iconic structures in town. Daring designs and striking silhouettes are all in store at PS Architecture Tours, an experience that will compel you to delve even further back in time.

Well, you’re in luck because Palm Springs Historical Society is preserving the best of the past with imagery that lasts. Their Mid-century ShowcaseGolden Era, and Modernist Treasures packages are perfect for visitors from neighboring town who are just here for a quick foray into transcendence.

If you prefer to craft your own quest, Scoot Palm Springs offers scooter rentals with a side of modernism tour suggestions. You can also cruise our mid-century landscape on a stylish cycle from Bike Palm Springs, and their colorful storefront is a modern marvel in its own right!

Pool at The Hideaway
The Hideaway

Palm Springs Mid-century Modern Accommodations

Why drive back home when you can book an overnight stay at one of the fantastic abodes you just saw on your day trip? Mod Mansions really lives up to its name, providing the creature comforts of couture in your very own rental space.

To snuggle up to the foothills of San Jacinto for the night, take a spin to the Orbit In! Their splashy colors and exacting horizontal lines contrast brilliantly with the surrounding terrain. Just down the road, The Hideaway presents the softer side of modernity, complete with ornate pool parasols and inviting 60’s furnishings.

The Wesley is a study in comfy contradictions. The pop art in the walls awakens the soul while the bedding lulls you into a sedated nirvana.

Playfulness is paramount at Del Marcos, which boasts a similar affinity for celebrity panache. The suites are designed for such silver screen giants as Errol Flynn, Bob Hope, and James Bond. You’ll be shaken AND stirred by the majesty of Holiday House, a baby blue monument of restraint and refinement. The Palm Springs modernism of L’Horizon has beckoned such high wattage Hollywood royals as Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe into its chic enclosures.

And to add some personalized star power to your Palm Springs slumber party, consider staying at one of the celebrity homes that are available for rent. Cavort with the spirit of Sinatra (and swim in his piano-shaped pool!); ring a ding ding, indeed.

Destination PSP interior shot of store
Destination PSP

Window Shopping

But the mod look inspires more than just fabulous architecture; it’s a style that permeates every facet of Palm Springs life. You can wear it on your sleeve with some vintage threads from The Frippery, specializing in fierce fashions that define and delight Coachella Valley.

For curios that evoke another age while remaining timelessly alluring, you simply must time-travel to Antique Galleries. Likewise, Dazzles decks out your lifestyle with swirling glassware and tchotchkes that simply aren’t manufactured anymore. For more current collectibles that preserve our collective mid-century buzz, make a beeline for Destination PSP.

Recline in your throne of regal mystique by furnishing your home with wares from Modern Way. But before you drive home, fill the rest of your car with mod must-haves from A La Mod, local designs that will blow your mind!

Expand your horizons with intergalactic art from the heyday of the moon landing, only at M Modern Gallery. After your perspective has orbited the galaxy, bring it back to earth for terrestrial grooviness with The Art of Nat Reed. Their cocktail swag spilleth over at Shag, the depot of dapper that carries such mod faves as custom throw pillows, vintage vinyl players, and limited edition prints depicting mid-century mirth at full swingin’ swing!

Palm Springs truly is a work of art. To picture yourself here for a lunchtime getaway or a lifetime of luxury, day trip our way and say hey.

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Read More “Don’t Worry Darling” Filmed in Palm Springs Palm Springs filming locations. By Randy Garner Don’t Worry Darling is a new psychological thriller film that takes place in a 1950’s fictional California town called Victory. Official Trailer Why Palm Springs? The location plays a role in telling the story. While the neighborhood you see looks too picturesque to be real, in does, in fact, exist in real life. It’s not a tame and controlled conservative suburban life. Victory is a spectacular place full of opulence. It depicts something of a secret society in America, so it doesn’t represent traditional 1950s America or its values. As such, the production team descended upon Palm Springs, the longtime playground of the Hollywood elite, to create their desert utopia. A land of ever-present sunshine, blue skies and midcentury architecture galore, the area proved the quintessential backdrop for the storyline. The Storyline The Victory Corporation is building a city called Victory. It is meant to be a suburban utopia complete with sprawling greenbelts, a clubhouse, a sparkling pool and even an onsite boutique. Victory residents will want for nothing and have little reason to every leave. It is the one place to stay and be safe. The storyline follows Alice (portrayed by Florence Pugh) and Jack (played by Harry Styles), who are a married couple with a troublesome relationship. They just moved to Victory, a company town created by and paid for by Jack’s new employer, Frank (played by Chris Pine). While Jack and his colleagues go to work on the “Victory Project”, their wives are left to enjoy the beauty and luxury of their community. Here’s a look at some more specific Palm Springs filming locations in Don’t Worry Darling. The Kaufmann House The Kaufmann House was used was for the home of Victory Corporation founder, Frank, portrayed by Chris Pine. The home is fragile and extremely valuable, so much care had to be take to ensure nothing was damaged. This included bubble wrapping portions of the home and having docents in every room. Department store owner Edgar Kaufmann hired architect Richard Neutra to design a desert home for his family. A decade earlier, Frank Lloyd Wright had built Fallingwater for Mr. Kaufmann. But Kaufmann, having seen Taliesin West, thought that Wright didn’t understand desert design and chose Neutra instead. The home turned out so well, that when Wright saw it, he admitted to that is was beautiful (uncharacteristic of him). The building remains the most famous in Palm Springs in terms of international recognition. The flat roof, steel frame, and glass walls embody one prominent version of Modernism by using sharp, clean, lines and contrasting them to the rugged slopes of Mt. San Jacinto as a backdrop. When photographed by Julius Shulman, the Kaufmann House became an iconic image of modern architecture. The north wing is the guest’s quarters, separated from the rest of the house. The secluded west wing is the service wing. It would be purchased by Joseph and Nelda Linsk. She was the glamorous woman wearing yellow depicted in legendary photographer Slim Aaron’s iconic photograph highlighting the good life in Palm Springs, dubbed “Poolside Gossip.” In 1968, Eugene and Francis Klein, owners of the San Diego Chargers, purchased it. Then in 1973, Barry Manilow purchased the property and owned it until 1993. Beth and Brent Harris become the new owners and were eager to restore the property.They found a home once originally open and light-filled now dense and dark thanks to 2,200 square feet of additions that turned courtyards into interior spaces. The iconic upstairs room visible from the street, an open-air deck that really is one of the house's main features, had its views of mountains and palm trees blocked by air-conditioning compressors. Linsk addition, designed by William Cody, was compatible and relatively seamless, but removed the glass corridor to the master bedroom and drastically reduced the amount of light to the interior. Modernist furnishings selected by Neutra were replaced with those chosen by prominent Palm Springs interior designer Arthur Elrod. The Harris’s dismantled the crumbling fireplaces and numbering each stone for reassembly. To repair gashes in the walls of Utah sandstone, the firm convinced the original quarry in Utah to return to a long-closed portion of its site so the color and texture of the new stone would match that of the old. To find a source for mica, a crystalline sand which workers applied to the house's exterior to provide a subtle, starry-night glow, the architects had to work with the U.S. Bureau of Mines. Can I Visit? The Kaufmann House is privately owned and not available for tours or a rental. However, you can take a peek of the home by driving by 470 West Vista Chino. Canyon View Estates This is where Alice and Jack live in the film. Their residence was on a circular cul-de-sac with their neighbors’ houses facing inwards on the perimeter. For filming at this location, every driveway had to be cleared for blocks and blocks of non-period elements. This affected the daily routine for hundreds of people and property owners. Canyon View Estates was designed by Dan Palmer and William Krisel. These local architects also designed Ocotillo Lodge, Las Palmas Estates, Kings Point and Racquet Club Estates. The “House of Tomorrow” was designed by Krisel for Robert Alexander and his wife Helen. They made it their personal residence and lived in it until their premature death in a plane crash in 1965. The house later gained fame as the honeymoon home of Elvis and Priscilla Presley. The design of these quaint one-story duplex-style condominiums offered floor-to-ceiling windows, and characteristic Palm Springs geometric stonework. It included post-and-beam construction, open floor plans in which the living room, dining room and kitchen flow together. Built in six stages in the 1960s by developer Roy Fey, it has a utopian neighborhood feel, with a shared pool, spa and green space. It includes 180 units with attached carports. Can I Visit? Properties in Canyon View Estates are privately owned and few are available as a vacation rental. However, the neighborhood is not gated, so grab a cruiser bike and explore. Palm Springs City Hall The Palm Springs City Hall was shown briefly in the film. It is centrally located and just steps away from the Palm Springs International Airport, another beautiful midcentury modern style building. Palm Springs City Hall was one of Clark, Frey and Chambers’ most important public buildings, built between 1952 and 1957. Although a collaborative effort with the local architectural firm of Williams and Williams, the building’s initial phase was primarily the design work of John Porter Clark and Albert Frey. An unusual detail of the council chamber is its corner treatment consisting of projecting concrete blocks cut at a diagonal at every other paired row, which allows the blocks to cast light and shadow. Albert Frey was a leading early architect to Palm Springs and left a large design footprint on the city. His own residence, Frey House II, is also an architecturally significant building as was willed to the Palm Springs Art Museum upon his death. It is perched above Palm Springs with sweeping views and is available for tours through the museum. Can I Visit? Palm Springs City Hall is a popular spot on Palm Springs’ midcentury modern design tours, but visitors are also welcome to walk around and take photos. It is located at 3200 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way. Palm Springs Visitor Center Look for the Palm Springs Visitor Center, which was also shown briefly in the film. Like City Hall, it was also designed by architect Albert Frey. In 1965, it began as an Esso gas station situated in North Palm Springs. With a swooping and wing-shaped roof, it immediately captures the attention of visitors as they arrive in the city. In the 1990s, the building was converted into an art gallery, and subsequently taken over by the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism.

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