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Article: Hot Design in the Desert

Edris House - E. Stewart Williams

The Palm Springs Desert Museum has just pulled off an extremely ambitious exhibition of architecture and design - actually four exhibitions in one. Looking at the architectural history past and present of Palm Springs and as well the greater metropolitan Los Angeles area with a four part show featuring:

Marmol and Radziner - the superb young architects who have been responsible for not only sensitive restorations of vintage architectural gems but their own impressive projects that have put them on the map as "the hottest young architects in Los Angeles"; at least according to The New York Times Magazine.

Charles Hollis Jones - brought to our attention last year with the seminal show by R 20th Century Gallery right across the street from Totem at 82 Franklin Street in Tribeca. Jones is back on the map and no better place than his native Southern California. Although it took a New York show at R 20th Century to bring this rare talent back into the limelight - kudos to the Museum for picking up on it and mounting such a cohesive collection of his work. The Museum does a great job of presenting the furniture displayed within the context of the architectectural work of E. Stewart Williams and photography by Julius Shulman.

E. Stewart Williams - One of the grand daddies of design in Palm Springs and at 94 is as spry as ever... Williams designed the Palm Springs Desert Museum so it is fitting that his first real retrospective should be mounted there. Stew, as his friends and family call him, is one of the most amazing people you could ever meet. Drawing from nature and the spiritual inspiration that it evokes, Stew's work has a sensitivity to the site and the use of material that is unmatched by just about anyones standards. He has created a legacy that will live with us for generations. Totem Media is currently producing a documentary on Williams and some of the other architects who helped put Palm Springs on the map as a city with one of the highest concentrations of modern architecture in the US.

Julius Shulman - renowned as the photographer who almost singlehandedly documented the architectural history of the 20th Century in the US has created a body of work that defies all imagination. Shown in the exhibition are examples of some well known and not so well known images of some of the finest architecture ever built. A true testiment to the American Modern aesthetic, Shulmans ouvre documents the times and buildings as they were created. Many are no longer with us and this photographic history is all we have left.

Check out the show if you are in Palm Springs and look for a Totem presence there soon.


Palm Springs Desert Museum
Copyright © 2008 David Shearer   
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