Mid-Century Modernism Conference 2018
Over the last few years we have started to see a shift in what people are looking for in terms of livable space. They want it simpler — we have yet to have a client who has asked for “complicated”. Even if the new living space is to be larger — somewhere in their first few comments is the suggestion to simplify. “We want functionality, flow, light and an element that is unique to ourselves”. Is it our busy lives that we want things simpler? Is it cost? Are we truly becoming aware of our footprint? Or is it as simple as remembering back to simpler times, your parents home, maybe your grandparents. Those homes were smaller; living spaces were in context and scale, they had good finishes and fixtures that lasted and could be repaired as opposed to replaced. And somehow the whole family always managed to be together in that space for the holidays, it worked!
Smaller living spaces require thoughtful design, and good use of materials. Some of the best examples of this design is Mid-Century Modern Architecture — built in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.
We are always looking for inspiration, personally and professionally. We often ask ourselves what’s next? In our world we find inspiration all around including mainstream avenues of magazines, TV programs, the web, but our best finds are ones discovered through travel. How do they do this in other places, other climates?
Mid-Century Modern architecture has always been a favourite of ours, a search on the web produced an opportunity to attend the Mid-Century Modernism conference in Palm Springs in February 2010. This year 2018, will be the 6th time we have attended this event. The 10-day long conference offers a myriad of things to do and see. From lectures, to home tours, films, shopping and a marketplace dedicated to the preservation of this very unique time in North American Architecture. It was an interesting time and place for this blend of elegant yet informal design, materials and colour. The floor plans seamlessly connect indoor and outdoor living and embrace the desert that surrounds. The extremes we visited varied from Twin Palms, Frank Sinatra’s first desert home, 4 bedrooms (all with ensuite), his and hers cabanas, a recording studio, and Albert Frey’s personal residence; an 800sf built into the side of a mountain with part of the natural rock built into the interior to “anchor” the home.
One of the similarities between Palm Springs and the Georgian Bay area is that a number of the homes were initially built for the weekend getaway; a sanctuary away from the city, the place to go and play.
Smaller living spaces can fit into this use. Large enough to accommodate guests for entertaining, small enough to clean, maintain and quickly lock up till the next visit. Although our weather does not always permit the same seamless connection to outdoor living as in Palm Springs, we still find ways to be part of the site, from morning coffee’s in the sunroom or sunporch, après ski drinks on a southern deck with outdoor fireplace, to BBQs off the kitchen in all sorts of weather.
This year we have a few projects that contain some or all of these elements, looking forward to see what is out there that is new, innovative, and just the right fit for that unique space and place we call home!