Modernism Week double-decker bus

Do It Like DoCoMoMo

A sneak peek at Modernism Week’s fall preview.

Judith Salkin Modernism

Modernism Week double-decker bus
A double-decker bus is one option for Modernism tours.

In October the desert hits a seasonal high and presents one of fall’s most anticipated events: Modernism Week’s Fall Preview Weekend. It’s a miniversion of February’s 11-day event, showcasing some of the tours, shows, lectures, and parties that are often
 sold out at the winter show. This fall’s preview weekend is Friday through Sunday, Oct. 21-23.

did you know?

You might know it by its 
formal name — Documentation and Conservation Modern Movement, an international nonprofit organization that documents and conserves buildings, sites, and neighborhoods of the 
modern movement

“It started out as a way to say ‘welcome back,’ and has turned into a chance for locals and visitors to get in on modernism,” says Chris Mobley, chairman of the board of Modernism Week and the owner of Just Modern in Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District. “A lot of our locals are volunteers for [February’s] Modernism, leading tours and opening their homes to tourists, and this is when they get to take in the tours and have some fun.”

The preview weekend started with Modernism Week participating in the DoCoMoMo (see below) tour weekends in early October. “That was the first two years,” Mobley said. “Then we realized that it was a great way to give international journalists a chance to get a look at modernism to run their pieces in time for February. And then we realized that it had become a great event on its own.”

Mobley agrees with Modernism Week Executive Director Lisa Vossler Smith that the October guests “seem a bit more relaxed. … Rather than rushing from one event to another, they seem to take their time,” Smith says. “Town’s not as crowded, either.”

The weekend has all the best elements of February’s events: double-decker bus tours, walking tours, and the popular Modernism Show & Sale. “We have added more walking and bus tours and we’re hoping that we have day-of tickets available for walk-ups,” Smith says.

“We also have Christopher Kennedy’s ‘Palm Springs Pad,’ ” Vossler says. Kennedy, a noted interior designer, has opened his Palm Springs condo for tours. “Unlike the Design House [for Modernism Week], he’s using pieces that you can find in stores and online to get a midcentury look.”

Whether it’s the architectural walking or bus tours, the Modernism Show & Sale (which is back at the Palm Springs Convention Center with more than 40 vendors), Charles Phoenix’s Super Duper Double Decker Bus Tour, or the lectures on architects like E. Stewart Williams, William F. Cody, and Donald Wexler, who gave Palm Springs its amazing collection of midcentury modern homes and commercial buildings, “There really is something for everyone,” Smith says.

Visit for October ticket information and schedules. Tickets for the Feb. 16-26 event are on sale Nov. 1 at noon.

Palm Springs
Pad Perfect

Christopher Kennedy is recognized as one of the best midcentury modern designers working today. At his Palm Springs store, and the Egg and Dart store, Kennedy sells his distinctive home furnishings with a midcentury influence. “Even when I was studying architecture, I was always drawn to modernism,” Kennedy says. “I liked the clean look. It had an element of fun and color.”

Kennedy’s home is a popular stop on the tour.

For the last several years during February’s Modernism Week, Kennedy has opened his Palm Springs home and invited noted designers to create their own midcentury masterpieces in his house. Then he sold it. “It requires a lot of work and these days I’m traveling so much,” he explains. He moved back to a condo in the heart of Palm Springs at 48@Baristo and gave it a makeover that he’s inviting the public to inspect.

“It’s much more affordable than the house,” Kennedy says. “We used high-end pieces in the house, so it’s more of a dream project. In the condo everything is available online, so it’s more practical, but still has the midcentury look and feel.”

can’t miss mod menu

We asked Lisa Vossler Smith and Chris Mobley to choose don’t-miss events. Some of their picks require paid tickets, others are free. And some are sold out, but keep checking, just in case…

Modernism Show & Sale: Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros. “There’s more space for the vendors and guests,” Smith says. “This year we have more than 40 dealers who are bringing clothes, furnishings, decor items, and art.” Sat., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Smith tip: The Modernism Show & Sale Opening Night Party and Early Buying Preview on Friday are always a hit.

Christopher Kennedy’s Palm Springs Pad: Preview Party Friday night; tours Saturday and Sunday. Kennedy teamed with Lowe’s-owned, Ferguson Plumbing Supply, and other suppliers to show how to use fixtures and furnishings to create a modern modernism look and feel without breaking the bank at his condo complex, 48@Baristo.

Palm Springs Preservation Foundation Lectures: The Palm Springs Women’s Club reprises “Modernism With A Twist” with “Lost, Saved & Endangered” with real estate expert Gary Johns. Also, historian/author Steven M. Price presents: “Palm Springs to Los Angeles and Back.” A screening of “Desert Maverick ——-— The Singular Architecture of William F. Cody” will be at the main Palm Springs Library.

E. Stewart Williams Cocktail Party at The Shops at Thirteen Forty Five: Saturday, 1345 N. Palm Canyon Drive. Williams is a giant of Palm Springs architecture. The party raises funds to nominate several of the prominent homes and buildings he designed for inclusion in the National Registry of Historic Places. Hosted by Towne Palm Springs with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails by Jake’s Palm Springs.

Charles Phoenix Super Duper Double-Decker Bus Tour: The witty Phoenix has a unique view of modernism in Palm Springs, and dishes info on the celebs who lived in the homes he features on the tour.

Robert Imber Star Dedication: Saturday, 2:30 p.m., 300 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Imber is an architectural historian who created Palm Springs Modern Tours. The star will be installed in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center.

The 3rd Annual ONE-PS Pads, Pools & Patios Home Interiors and Neighborhoods Tour: Peek at significant midcentury homes in a variety of neighborhoods.

Premier Double-Decker Architectural Bus Tours: All weekend.

Sunnylands/Annenberg Estate Tours: The estate designed by Quincy Jones offers tours of the gardens and home.