Modernism Week 2021: In-person tours are underway

By Erin Rode | Desert Sun

After more than a year without the signature events that bring thousands of visitors to the Coachella Valley, Modernism Week will start Thursday with a series of in-person home tours and events. 

Modernism Week 2021 will run until April 18. The annual festival, which focuses on midcentury modern architecture and design is typically held in February, but was pushed back this year due to COVID-19.

“Our board has been very closely monitoring the health and safety situation, and we were thrilled to not have to cancel completely. Being able to reschedule to April gave us this opportunity to wait a little longer for things to improve, which they have,” said Modernism Week Executive Director Lisa Vossler Smith.

This year’s event will include in-person tours and live events, as well as new virtual programming. Modernism Week also hosted an online experience in February. 

Modernism Week is one of the Coachella Valley’s first major in-person events in over a year. In early 2020, last year’s Modernism Week attracted an estimated 162,000 attendees and generated an estimated economic impact of $61 million for hotels, restaurants and other local businesses. 

The event’s cocktail parties, the annual Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale, and CAMP, the downtown festival headquarters, aren’t available this year due to COVID-19. But, Modernism Week will still offer in-person tours of four homes, as well as other in-person programming. 

Four home tours, online offerings

Tickets are still available for tours of this year’s two featured homes, which will be offered this weekend, from Friday through Monday and on April 15-18 at various time slots. 

“Sunburst Palms,” one of the two featured homes, showcases H3K Design’s renovation of a 1956 Lawrence Lapham property in Deepwell Estates. 

The second home, “Seventies Sackley,” is located in Indian Canyons. The 1975 residence designed by architect Stan Sackley features a blend of contemporary furniture and vintage pieces. Read Local.As a subscriber, you will enjoy unlimited access to the news and information important to the community.

Tickets are also available for “Desert Modernism: Two Perspectives. Two Home Tours – Kappe and Lockyer.” For one $60 ticket, participants can tour architect Raymond Kappe’s latest project and architect Sean Lockyer’s newly completed Desert Palisades project. 

Modernism Week programming will also include a fashion show event on Sunday , a presentation on vintage Las Vegas on April 15, and two free print signing parties featuring the artist Shag. 

Starting April 15, Modernism Week will also offer new online offerings, which will include virtual tours of the featured homes, a presentation on Slim Aarons’s iconic Poolside Gossip photo, and a presentation from Charles Phoenix on vintage pools, patios and backyards. 

What to expect for in-person events

All attendees are required to wear masks and adhere to social distancing precautions at Modernism Week’s in-person events. The home tours will be at reduced capacities of approximately 30 to 40 people per time slot at each property, and docents inside the homes will make sure that people keep their distance and don’t touch anything.

Instead of printed schedules and brochures, attendees can scan QR phones on their phones for information. 

On April 15, midway through Modernism Week, the allowed capacity for events will increase under the state’s latest coronavirus guidelines. But Modernism Week officials say they don’t plan on increasing the capacity for events held after that date. At most, Vossler Smith said, a few extra tickets might be sold at the door. 

“It is hard because of course we want to welcome the masses, but the good news is between the four homes that are available on tour virtually every day of Modernism Week, we still have several thousand tickets available. So I think we’ll have good availability and won’t need to add capacity,” she said.

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