When you think of Palm Springs, I would bet the first things that come to mind are golf, spas, and resorts. To be sure, there are plenty of golf courses, country clubs, and wellness spas dotted throughout the Coachella Valley, but when we recently visited the area for the holidays, my absolute favorite part of Palm Springs was the mid-century modern architecture and design.
Frozen in Time
The city of Palm Springs, once billed as an idyllic spot for vacation homes for the middle class, had its heyday in the middle of the last century. But when other destinations gained popularity and Palm Springs no longer had that Rat Pack allure, these mid-century homes were left to languish in the desert sun. Lucky for us, they were relatively untouched and are now being snagged up by MCM aficionados and restored to their former atomic glory.
Palm Springs Mod Squad Tour
One of the best decisions we made on our visit to Palm Springs was booking a tour with Kurt Cyr of Palm Springs Mod Squad. From Kurt we learned about Hugh Kaptur and William Krisel and Donald Wexler and the other visionary architects who designed homes and buildings in Palm Springs, creating its unique aesthetic and iconic look. We were welcomed into several residences to experience the way current homeowners are endeavoring to recreate the style and ephemera of the mid-century era in their homes today. As a travel photographer, I was in absolute heaven and could’ve stayed for hours in each location! Kurt is a veritable fount of knowledge on Palm Springs history, city planning, building, architecture, and decorating; we couldn’t have enjoyed the tour more and I highly recommend it to Palm Springs visitors.
It may be newer on the Palm Springs scene, but The Saguaro hotel has fully embraced the colorful vibe and mid-century aesthetic of the city. This hotel is a dream for anyone who loves colorful, kitschy eye candy!
That Pink Door!
I’d say that these people must be sick of having tourists standing outside their house photographing their door, but they did make it a location on Google Maps, so…
Break The Sun
For me, the most quintessential of all mid-century design features is the Brise Soleil: an architectural feature that deflects or “breaks” sunlight to reduce the heat effects of the sun. These sunscreens can be seen in myriad geometric designs throughout Palm Springs and are as emblematic of the town as the retro scripted house numbers or the ubiquitous orange doors.
All images shot on Fuji 400h film with a Contax 645. Processed by The FIND Lab.
©2018 As Ever Photography
Many thanks to Kurt Cyr of Palm Springs Mod Squad Tours. CLICK HERE to view his site for information on tours of Palm Springs. Thank you also to the homeowners who opened their beautifully curated homes with us.