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Interior Design & Art Curation

Palm Springs On My Mind

Apr 28, 2011 | Art

There is something so comfortingly familiar to me about Palm Springs. I feel as though the idea of Palm Springs is indelibly stamped into my memory, and I keep wanting to return although I have never been.

Is it because I am a child of the 1960s?

Is it because my parents were in showbiz during the 1950s and ’60s and the memories of their little showbiz world in Sydney Australia and their love and admiration of all things American somehow echoed the glamorous heyday of
Palm Springs that they only heard about?

Is it a reminder of my childhood homes?
Our Australian version of the ‘Californian Bungalow’ which later morphed into a two storey Mansard/Cape Cod hybrid around 1972. Or the 1960s sun room with its cane saucer chairs, the faux bamboo screens sliding across the Neutra style glass windows with their crisp white wooden frames looking out to my mother’s succulent pebble garden?

Is it the memory of the reel to reel tape which recorded not only my parents singing songs of Sinatra and Martin
but me at the age of six belting out Barbra Streisand’s ‘My Man’ from the ‘Funny Girl’ soundtrack.

Is it the memories of the Rat Pack, Shirley Maclaine and Sammy Davis in “Sweet Charity”?
Or watching Laugh In and the Carol Burnett Show?

Or growing up on Australia’s Gold Coast during the 1970s where our very own waterfront suburbs such as Miami, Palm Beach, Coral Gables, Florida Gardens and Rio Vista were developed and flourished.

I have had a love for all things mid-century modern ever since I was lucky enough to acquire my Grant Featherston armchairs from an upholsterer friend back in the 1980s who passed them off as his own wacky designs reupholstered in “1980s doing 1950s” printed lime green and orange fabric.

This was way before we were even talking about Australia’s own mid-century designers, and I had not even heard of Grant Featherston!

I was only then learning about Mies and Eames!

For whatever reason, Palm Springs and the mid-century style has somehow been transposed into my psyche from a young age.

Palm Springs style and mid-century modernism will always evoke a feeling of “going home” for me.

That feeling of familiarity, leisure time, perceived comfort, hope and innocence of times past. And the excitement and glamour of modernism!

The memories and the legacy that these times encapsulate, will always energise and inspire me.

Words J Watson-Evans

Images via
‘Palm Springs Style’ by Aline Coquelle 2005


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