When Mandy Cheng got back from Modernism Week in Palm Springs, we picked her brain about how to see the best of the event and the trends she’s ready to bring home.
Modernism Week is an event in Palm Springs that’s dedicated to appreciating Mid-Century architecture and design, as well as showcasing new products that are inspired by the era’s aesthetic.
For first-timers, I would suggest starting with a cocktail and a bowl of snacks before trying to purchase tickets. It can get very busy—and take anywhere from five to seven hours to buy tickets. But don’t let that dissuade you—it’s definitely worth it.
Modernism Week happens twice a year, usually when the area is blessed with ideal weather conditions, which means warm, sunny skies, palm trees everywhere, and amazing era-inspired outfits.
Definitely book at least one or two home tours. It’s the best way to see some of the most coveted homes in the world. These spaces are often only open during Modernism Week, and not guaranteed each year. I’ve been lucky enough to tour the Frey House II, several Wexler homes, and Alexander homes.
Besides seeing insides of so many gorgeous spaces, I was inspired by everything I saw. Here are a few techniques and tricks I can’t wait to use in my own work.
Organic Shapes in Art
This year, I had the chance to tour the Loewy house, which hasn’t been open to the public for years and probably won’t be again for several more.
Aside from the overall jaw-dropping experience of seeing the space, a small detail I really loved was the use of organic forms, especially in their artwork. It was such a nice break from all the rectangularly-framed art I’m seeing everywhere. The pool is also an organic shape, and seeing that trait reflected in the accessories really softened the home’s look.
If you want to implement the look at home, go for an art wall that doesn’t have anything else competing with it—give that shapely piece room to breathe and keep the rest of the decor around it nice and simple.
Design by, Photograph by Tyler Guinn
Brick by Brick
Another detail that is prevalent in Palm Springs is stacked brick. Many of the structures feature stacked brick exteriors, whether they’re homes or commercial buildings. This detail is carried into many interior spaces as well; you’ll see it in the kitchen backsplash, bathrooms, and in many fireplaces.
I’ve always loved stacked brick, but seeing so much of it during my time in Palm Springs reminded me of how beautiful, timeless, and versatile it can be. Above is an example of a stacked brick I used in a project at The Loop Running Supply Co., a boutique running store in Austin, Texas. The style of this store isn’t quite Mid-Century, but you can see how the brick works beautifully with the handmade tile.
Rich Texture Combos
Velvet, brass, and walnut combos were all the rage—both at Modernism Week and in the general design world. Walnut has always been a prevalent wood choice in Mid-Century design, and over the past decade it has made its way into mainstream furniture as well. The velvet trend has become more popular recently, which I love because it adds texture and glam to any space. I wouldn’t recommend it for your “everyday, all day long” chair because the fabric will crush with too much wear and tear, but if you’re looking for a statement piece, it’s a beautiful fabric to consider.
I recently visited the new NoMad Hotel in DTLA and a friend kept mentioning that it was overbrimming with luxury, but she didn’t know why that was. I walked into the hotel and would you guess what—velvet everywhere.
Pantone’s 2016 Color of the Year is still going strong in 2018. Maybe it’s just the world that we live in is helping everyone embrace this more feminine blush pink/rose quartzy tone. But more than that, it’s versatile, gentle, and can act as a vintage or modern accent at the same time. It’s a shade that works so well as a “pop” of color without being overly eye-catching. It’s pleasant, refreshing, and makes you want to smile.
Statement chairs seem to be having a moment right now. Chairs never get old—obviously. At Modernism Week, there were so many fun things to look at, but vendors really showed their talent through their chairs. This chair in particular (above right) was beautiful; I loved the Frank Lloyd Wright feel of it and I can’t help but dream of the dining table these chairs could accompany. Regardless of where you’d put a chair like this, make sure to show off that lovely velvet back.
Chairs really played a prominent role amongst all the booths at the event. Statement chairs, lounge chairs, sofas, rocking chairs—if you love the chair (and can afford it), it’s definitely worth it. After all, everyone needs a place to sit at the table!
Depth in your entryway
OK everyone can’t do this one, but I was smitten with the incredible usage of pools bridging the indoor and out. One can dream.
Read to bring the Mid-Century Modern vibes home? Start working with a Homepolish designer today.