Friday, February 8, 2013

Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013: Frank Sinatra House, Twin Palms

One of my favorite times of the year is during the Palm Springs Modernism Week, this year, running February 14 - 24.  The 11-day event appropriately starts on Valentine's Day.  The mid-century madness that falls upon Palm Springs each year, bringing locals and foreigners alike, will showcase architecture and design from the 1950s and 60s.  For Los Angelenos, the quick trip to Palm Springs is a nice reprieve in order to soak in desert modernism.  I plan on making a couple day trips out there myself. Lots to do.  Lots to see.
Frank Sinatra Twin Palms House, E. Stewart Williams, architect -
The kick-off to Modernism Week is a gathering at Frank Sinatra's Twin Palms Estate designed by architect E. Stewart Williams.  It was Williams' first commissioned residences and was given the directive that Sinatra wanted a Georgian-style mansion with columns and brick facade to show-off his new wealth, back in 1947.  Williams had another idea.  The Desert Modern with casual living lifestyle and sleek lines were the beat of Williams' drum.  Sinatra agreed to scrap plans for the Georgian in favor of the Desert Modern.  The architect and builders worked around the clock to design and build Sinatra's desert modern in only a few months time.  Sinatra landed his contract with MGM and he was ready to show his success through design and architecture.  Troves of friends and other celebrities were often invited to gatherings and parties at the home in the desert.  Hence, influencing others to design and build their own desert modern retreat.
The general public got a glimpse of the exterior of the Twin Palms Sinatra House when Sinatra repaid a favor and allowed the production of "The Damned Don't Cry" (1950), starring Joan Crawford to use only exterior footage. 
The Damned Don't Cry Trailer
No interior photos were allowed until famed architectural photographer, Julius Shulman, was invited into the home to shoot.  It was only then, the public was able to take a closer look at the sleek design Williams created. 
Sinatra went through a tumultuous two marriages, Nancy and Ava Gardner, while owning the Twin Palms home.  He eventually sold the home in 1957, as he filed for divorce from Gardner that same year, and moved into his nearby compound in Rancho Mirage on the 17th fairway of the Tamarisk Country Club.

You can take advantage of programs offered by visiting the official Palm Springs Modernism Week websiteMany events have all ready sold out, but there are plenty of things to do while in the heat of the desert, including bus tours, car shows, vintage trailer shows, cocktail parties, home tours, along with pre-fab and home exhibitions.  

Don't let this year go by without experiencing the energy of the atomic age!  See you out there.

Dean, Frank and Sammy singing poolside at Twin Palms House

Images courtesy  For Sinatra Twin Palms rental inquiries, check out the website.

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hang in there. modernhomeslosangeles just needs a quick peek before uploading your comment. in the meantime, have a modern day!