Modernism Week Announces Schedule for its 15th Annual Festival in February 2020

Happy Holidays, friends! I know it seems like we’re barely done with 2019…where does the time go? But the New Year will soon be upon us, and our calendars will be completely consumed before we know it. Before your days are all committed, please do mark this very special event on your must-see list:

Modernism Week’s signature February festival will take place February 13 – 23, 2020, highlighting midcentury modern architecture, art, interior and landscape design, and vintage culture in the Palm Springs area of Southern California. Celebrating its 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. Also offered are architectural biking and double-decker bus tours, tours of the historic Annenberg Estate at Sunnylands, a classic car show, garden tours, and a special series of compelling and informative talks.  Attendees will be able to preview the events on the website without making purchases starting October 22. A portion of ticket proceeds benefit Modernism Week (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.  

New events for 2020 include:

Keynote Speaker: Daniel Libeskind: Edge of Order

February 15, 1 PM, $45-$65

Architect, artist, professor, and set designer Daniel Libeskind will present the annual Modernism Week keynote address. “Architecture is the atmosphere, the story that has been created, and you’re part of it.” Internationally acclaimed architect Daniel 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):

Showcase Home: 

Gillman Residence (1948)

Herbert W Burns, Architectural Designer & Builder

Dates Open: 2/14, 2/15, 2/16, 2/17, 2/20, 2/21, 2/22, 2/23, 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: February 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: February 15, 16, 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. New furnishings and décor by Christopher and his design team will exemplify the sophisticated California glamour for which his brand is known. 

Miles Bates “Wave” House (1955)

Architect: Walter S. White

Dates open: February 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. 

Sponsors for the Showcase Home and Featured Homes include Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Brizo, Corian, Dunn-Edwards, Hunter Douglas, and JennAir. Additional Showcase sponsors include Flor and Room + Board.

Modernism Week Opening Night Party: Space Modyssey 2020

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) 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 Thursday, February 13 from 7 – 11 p.m. Tickets are $175. This special evening is presented by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.

Other new events for 2020 include:

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

Other signature events not to be missed include:

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 (February 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 February 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 exciting 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 from February 14 – 23, 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.

Modernism Week’s signature 11-day festival will take place February 13 – 23, 2020. Tickets will be available November 1 at 12 p.m. PST. To receive updates, visit and sign up for Modernism Weekly, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 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. 

About Modernism Week:

Modernism Week is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, providing scholarships to local Coachella Valley students pursuing college educations in the fields of architecture and design; as well as giving grants to local and state organizations for their efforts to preserve modernist architecture throughout the state of California. 

The mission of Modernism Week is to celebrate and foster appreciation of midcentury architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking in these fields, by encouraging education, preservation and sustainable modern living as represented in the greater Palm Springs area. The Complete Guide to Palm Springs, CA!

About David J Castello

David J Castello is the Editor-in-Chief and Chief Operating Officer for the Castello Cities Internet Network (,,, etc). His debut novel, The Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959) was published in 2016.

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