Monocle on Design

Palm Springs and mid-century modernism

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20 April 2021

Episode 497

30 minutes


Photo: Darren Bradley

We head to Palm Springs, the idyllic desert retreat that’s become synonymous with mid-century modern architecture, to explore why this unassuming corner of California became a hub for modernist design.

20 April 2021

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Chapter 1

7 minutes


Photo: Darren Bradley

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Chapter 1

Sam Lubell on the history of modernism in Palm Springs

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Author, curator and architecture critic Sam Lubell takes us through the history of mid-century modern architecture and design in Palm Springs.

7 minutes

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Chapter 2

8 minutes


Photo: Courtesy of Modernism Week

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Chapter 2

Lisa Vossler-Smith – Modernism Week

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Modernism Week is an annual celebration of mid-century modern design in Palm Springs, with many events such as home tours, auctions and exhibitions. We catch up with Lisa Vossler-Smith, the event’s executive director, to find out more about the importance of promoting the area’s outstanding architectural heritage.

8 minutes

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Chapter 3

5 minutes


Photo: Janna Ireland

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Chapter 3

Janna Ireland – ‘Regarding Paul R Williams: A Photographer’s View’

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Palm Springs’ fame is partly thanks to iconic photographers capturing the works of equally iconic architects. We sit down with artist and photographer Janna Ireland to discuss her most recent book ‘Regarding Paul R Williams: A Photographer’s View’, which explores the work of one of California’s most important architects.

5 minutes

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Chapter 4

9 minutes


Photo: Image courtesy of CHOC

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Chapter 4

CHOC – How to design with architectural heritage in mind

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How do you design new buildings that complement the architectural heritage of a place like Palm Springs? We speak with Palm Springs’ Community Housing Opportunities Corporation (CHOC) to find out how they created apartments in line with their mid-century modern neighbours.

9 minutes

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