Tim Street-Porter’s photo diary of modernist marvels in Palm Springs
With Modernism Week in full flow, what better time to release a new tome that celebrates the desert haven of Palm Springs and its architectural allure. Design and architectural photographer Tim Street-Porter has previously contributed to many architectural volumes including L.A. Modern, Casa Mexicana, The Los Angeles House, Tropical Houses, and now he is honouring the mid-century marvels of Palm Springs.
Street-Porter takes us on a tour of the hotbed of designs in the Coachella Valley in Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise, offering up a gleaming catalogue of architectural jewels, from the landmark Tramway Gas Station (also know as the Palm Springs Visitors Centre) by Albert Frey and Robson C Chambers, to William F Cody’s minimalist glass house.
But Street-Porter doesn’t just chart the structure of these mid-century marvels, he peeks inside some of the masterpieces displaying details such as John Lautner’s Elrod House where he captures the concrete and stone canopy and its intriguing shapes. Plus the weekend home of Hollywood-based designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, who renamed his 1960s James McNaughton-designed house Villa Grigio, after his favourite poolside drink. Its at these points when furniture gets its moment in the sun too showing how Palm Springs isn’t just about outdoor Slim Aarons-style scenarios, but also awash with art and contemporary design collectors too.
His appreciation extends to the the desert surrounds of the resort, ensuring succulents, sandy scapes, and azure pools and sky are part of the canvas. Elsewhere sunlight and shadows play a key role in giving the images further character and added depth alongside the 20th-century buildings, showcasing the complete modernist paradise in all its glory.
Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise, $75, published by Rizzoli New York