modernism week 2020

Get Out Your Calendar

Modernism Week offers event highlights for its 2020 event, which may be 3+ months away but tickets go on sale Nov. 1.

Staff Report Current Digital, Modernism

modernism week 2020
The Cree House returns for tours, priving a closer look at this Albert Frey design in Cathedral City.

February may seem like a long time from now, but your perspective changes quickly when you realize that tickets for Modernism Week 2020, set for Feb. 13-20, go on sale Nov. 1.  Celebrating it’s 15th year, the annual 11-day festival will feature more than 350 events including the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale, tours of iconic homes in more than 30 neighborhoods, walking tours, and nightly parties

The events will actually be posted to the Modernism Week 2020 website starting Oct. 22, giving midcentury enthusiasts a chance to start making plans ahead of time. A portion of ticket proceeds benefit Modernism Week 2020 (a non-profit organization) and other local preservation, neighborhood and community groups. As additional events are finalized, they will be added for sale on the website on the first of each month. Some events sell out quickly.

• READ NEXT: 10 Things to Notice When touring the Walker Guest House.

New events

Keynote Speaker: Daniel Libeskind: Edge of Order
Feb. 15, 1 p.m., $45-$65
Architect, artist, professor, and set designer Libeskind will present the annual Modernism Week 2020 keynote address. “Architecture is the atmosphere, the story that has been created, and you’re part of it.” Libeskind shares the incredible story of his architectural journey.

Tour the Modernism Week Showcase Home and Four Modernism Week Featured Homes (throughout the run of the 11-day festival). Each year Modernism Week offers exclusive tours of Featured Homes, and this year it has added a special Showcase Home.  Attendees will be able tour the five homes located in the Coachella Valley (tours occur on different days throughout Modernism Week 2020):

Showcase Home: 
Gillman Residence (1948)
Herbert W Burns, Architectural Designer & Builder
Dates Open: Feb. 14-17, Feb. 20-23, Cost: $40
This restored architectural gem pays homage to the incomparable Herbert Burns. Partially demolished and neglected for many years, this 1948 home is being restored in time for Modernism Week 2020 by the dynamic duo at Thomboy Properties. It was designed to take advantage of the natural beauty and appealing climate of the desert by incorporating an indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

Featured Homes:
Guggenheim House (1967)
Architect: Unknown
Dates Open: Feb. 14, 15,16, $30
This 1967 architectural gem was recently remodeled by Grace Home Furnishings to stunningly capture modern Palm Springs style. The interior spaces feature a seamless blend of contemporary furnishings and vintage pieces, and the bold color palette expertly mixes pattern and texture to achieve a fun yet sophisticated atmosphere that embodies the carefree Palm Springs lifestyle. The home is located in the prestigious Indian Canyons neighborhood, which boasts deep midcentury roots and distinctive architecture.

Divine DuBois (1972)
Architect: Charles DuBois
Dates Open: Feb. 15-17, $30
Interior designer Christopher Kennedy debuts a spectacular renovation of a quintessential midcentury property. As part of the iconic Canyon Estates neighborhood, this freestanding “Executive Home” was one of the last and most expensive properties in the development when it was first built. The renovation of the property includes a new kitchen, completely renovated bathrooms, and newly redone outdoor spaces.

Miles Bates “Wave” House (1955)
Architect: Walter S. White
Dates open: Feb. 21-23, $30
The Miles Bates House — known as the Wave House for its curving roof that mimics the San Jacinto mountains behind it — is being opened publicly for the first time since its remarkable restoration. It was one of more than forty houses in and around Palm Desert designed by local-born Walter S. White. In 2018 this home became the first Palm Desert landmark to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Purchased that spring by Stayner Architects, a family-run architecture and development firm based in Los Angeles, the Wave House has been lovingly and meticulously restored to Walter White’s original designs.

Mesa Modern (2020)
Architect: Collaborative 
Dates open: February 21-23, $30
Experience Palm Springs’ transformation from midcentury modern to contemporary architecture and design at Mesa Modern, a featured design house in collaboration with interior designer Michelle Boudreau, landscape architect John Feldman of Ecocentrix and the design team of Juniper House  that gains its inspiration from a global perspective on art, architecture, and interior and landscape design. The city’s new design movement is represented in this newly constructed home that emphasizes outstanding architecture and stunning outdoor spaces at the base of the beautiful San Jacinto mountains in the Mesa neighborhood.

Modernism Week 2020 Opening Night Party: Space Modyssey
Launch into outer space at this wild and entertaining Opening Night Party celebrating 15 years of Modernism Week. The Palm Springs Air Museum will be transformed into a futuristic space station, complete with intergalactic cocktails and atomic party cuisine (provided by Lulu California Bistro) and the legendary David Bowie tribute performer “Space Oddity.” Guests are encouraged to dress in their favorite party-gear or space regalia. The event takes place Feb. 13 from 7 – 11 p.m. Tickets are $175. This special evening is presented by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.

• READ NEXT: The Story Behind the Restored Cree House.

And Don’t Forget:

• Programs celebrating the Alexander Family
• A Palm Desert Signature Home Tour
• A panel on the saving of the Sunset Magazine archives
• Nancy Sinatra appearing at the Historic Plaza Theatre
• Shea Residence – Palm Springs Modern Committee Iconic Home Tour
• Daughters of Design: Bertoia, Eames, and Saarinen
• Birth of the Cool: A Symposium on California Architecture, Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury
• Jerry Lewis House – ‘Nutty Professor’ Party
• Content tracks on the significance of John Lautner
• A series of talks on Australia’s modern architecture

More signature events:

The Forgotten Frey: The Cree House Tours
One of Albert Frey’s most intact residential works has been meticulously preserved and restored to nearly its original 1955 condition. It has been owned by a single family and had been largely forgotten, as it quietly existed in Cathedral City on its hilltop perch overlooking the desert floor. Tours will be offered daily.

Home and Neighborhood Tours
Once again, Modernism Week attendees will be able to tour a wide array of midcentury modern homes, communities, and neighborhoods in Palm Springs. In addition, Modernism Week will continue to offer home tours and architectural excursions in surrounding desert cities including La Quinta, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells.

Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale
One of Modernism Week’s most highly anticipated events, the 20th annual Show & Sale at the Palm Springs Convention Center (Feb. 14 – 17) will feature 85 premier national and international dealers offering furniture, decorative and fine arts representing design movements of the 20th and 21st centuries. The popular Modern Design Expo (that adjoins the Show & Sale) will showcase cutting-edge modern design and technology to be introduced during the first weekend of Modernism Week. The Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale will open with an early buying Preview Party on Feb. 14 to benefit Modernism Week.

Film Screenings

Modernism Week will once again present dozens of films, including the world premiere of Frey II: The Architectural Interpreter, the second part of a two-part documentary from director Jake Gorst and produced by Design Onscreen, and a reprise of the film Eero Saarinnen – the Architect Who saw the Future.

Hollywood’s Playground

This year, Modernism Week offers an array of entertainment options including an appearance by Nancy Sinatra at the Historic Plaza Theatre, the return of “Hollywood Revisited,” “Hollywood Modern: Houses of the Stars,” a talk by Alan Hess and Michael Stern, “Sunny & Her Hollywood Blondes,” a hit stage show by Sunny Thompson, and a talk by Joshua Greene about his father Milton Greene, who photographed Hollywood greats.


Modernism Week’s CAMP (“Community And Meeting Place”) will provide a central hub for Modernism Week 2020. CAMP will include an information desk, a box office, a café by Cheeky’s, the Modernism Week merchandise store by Destination PSP, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery demonstration kitchen in partnership with JennAir and Brizo, designer lounges and a theater. The Dreamboats, a popular singing group, will offer free performances at CAMP. Entrance into CAMP is free and open to the public, open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Returning Favorites

Modernism Week aficionados will be pleased to see that the core favorite events will return this year, and many will feature new enhancements. These include the Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tours, Illuminated Modern (an after-dark architectural lighting display in downtown and sunset architectural bus tours), Sunnylands tours, tours of Frey House II, tours of iconic homes in the Coachella Valley, including the residence formerly owned by Frank Sinatra, compelling architectural walking tours specially curated for Modernism Week, a special landscape architecture exhibition of Lawrence Halperin at UCR-Palm Desert, Martinis On The Mountain, Modern Garden Tour, and Ask a Landscape Designer.

For more information on Modernism Weke 2020, visit The Hilton Palm Springs Resort, Modernism Week’s official host hotel, is offering a special room rate for a limited time only. Contact them directly at 760-320-6868.