Modernism Week Off to an Elegant Start

Even split between returnees, newcomers keeps event fresh, relevant

The signature piano-shaped pool is the centerpiece to the Frank Sinatra house in Palm Springs, which served as the backdrop to Thursday's opening cocktail party of Modernism Week.

Jim Powers

Running an event like Modernism Week can be a tricky business.

Especially when quizzing patrons of the previous seven Modernism Week events about whether they are newcomers or repeat customers.

“If you have an event where everyone has been here before, it means you don’t get too many new people,” Caussin told an audience Thursday afternoon at Birba restaurant in the Uptown District of Palm Springs, the site of the Illuminated Modern Official Opening Ceremony and Reception.

“If you have too many new people, it means that the people tend to only come once,” Caussin continued. “Well, for Modernism Week, we’re close to a 50-50 ratio.”

That kind of split is one reason why Modernism Week continues to thrive. Chris Mils, Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem who presented Caussin with an official proclamation for the eighth edition, said he always knew Palm Springs was the home to great architecture.

“That’s part of the reason I came back here after college,” said Mills, a 50-year resident and also an architect. “To see the recognition Modernism Week has gotten locally, world-wide and nationally is just spectacular.”

Special lighting will draw greater attention to Illuminated Modern, which celebrates Palm Springs mid-century architecture of various commercial and residential buildings during the entire 11-day event.

William Kopelk, associate director on Modernism Week, said blue and orange lights borrowed from the Modernism Week logo would illuminate each of the 10 buildings.

“In some of our buildings, we have indicated the name of the architect and the year it was constructed, and some of the buildings are two-stories tall,” he added of the additions to this year’s exhibition.

For more information, visit the Modernism Week website for events, times and days.

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