Frey, Frank and furniture: Highlights from Modernism Week, February 2020
Modernism Week’s signature February festival in Palm Springs, California has now wrapped and what a plethora of architectural and design riches it presented! We were treated to blue skies and gleaming sunshine, and every view framed by palm trees and imposing mountains.
Here are our highlights and where you can listen to Film and Furniture founder Paula Benson’s Modernism Week talk.
Film and Furniture Founder Paula Benson’s talk ‘Lights, Camera, Furniture!’ at The Annenberg Theater was attended by an enthusiastic and responsive audience who were entertained with stories from some of Paula’s favourite furniture and décor in film including the Djinn chair from 2001: a Space Odyssey, the hexagonal carpet from The Shining‘s Overlook Hotel, the Gaetano Pesce UP chair from Diamonds Are Forever (partly filmed in Palm Springs’ Elrod House) and many others.
“I’m a nightmare to watch a film with” she began, because she’s always pausing the screen to check the decor, ponder who designed the furnishings and where to get them.
The stage was adorned with a Djinn sofa and chair from which KCRW radio’s DNA programme host Frances Anderton and Paula chatted about production design, set decoration and furniture in films.
You can listen to an excerpt from the talk and Paula’s on stage chat with DNA host Frances Anderton here >
Whilst in Palm Springs we visited some key modernist houses such as Albert Frey’s finest example of ‘desert modernism’ the Frey House II as well as his Tramway Gas Station, with iconic “flying wedge” canopy, at the entrance to the Palm Springs Tramway (now used as a visitors centre), together with houses in many notable Palm Springs neighbourhoods, including the midcentury “leisure lifestyle” communities in South Palm Springs and E. Stewart Williams’ legendary “Twin Palms” estate, the former residence of Frank Sinatra.
The 11 day celebration of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture has become one of the world’s most important events dedicated to midcentury design, and is packed with parties, tours and talks.
Of particular interest this year was a presentation by Production Designer and Art Director Jeannine Oppewall. We sat down with Jeannine to chat about about design in film – stay tuned for that interview coming up on the website soon.
Modernism Week’s Fall Preview is scheduled for October 15-18, 2020