We had the great pleasure of attending Modernism Week in Palm Springs, CA from February 16-19, 2020. Modernism Week is a 501(c)(3) organization which provides public education programming to foster the appreciation of modern architecture, the mid-century modern architecture and design movement, the Palm Springs School of Architecture, and contemporary considerations surrounding historic preservation, cultural heritage, adaptive reuse, and sustainable architecture. Modernism Week sponsors and partner organizations host a series of events throughout the week including symposia, films, lectures, tours, and a variety of opportunities to access architecturally significant buildings not otherwise available to the public. We attended several such events during our time in Palm Springs — most notably, a lecture series sponsored by Marvin.
Throughout the week, Christine Marvin, the Vice President of Marvin Design, did a great job representing the Marvin Companies and their approach to modern design. Our group was also treated to a private tour of Albert Frey’s home; the swiss-born architect whose influence on modern architecture in the region was so significant, it came to be known as “desert modernism.” We also enjoyed a tour of Kirk Douglas’ former residence, as well as Mileena and Joel Turkel’s Axiom Desert House.
Signature Windows + Doors sponsored two guests on the trip: Colorado-based architects Amanda Christianson and Mike Piché. We enjoyed the opportunity to discuss how Mike and Amanda, along with the other architects attending the event, approached the iterative process of interpreting client visions and rendering them as drawings, schematic layouts, and ultimately, complete construction documents. In our work at Signature Windows + Doors, we usually only see the tail end of the process, and it was fascinating to learn what the earliest stages of a design project look like.

    In a panel discussion featuring Christine Marvin and Joel Turkel, we learned about two very important aspects to modern design:

  • First, it is not about design for design’s sake — rather it is about a lifestyle, about improving lives and well-being, and about recharging and reconnecting. Christine talked about windows and doors combining air, light, and views to “imagine and create better ways of living.”
  • Second, Joel talked about avoiding what he called “tom-foolery” and staying true to these principles. He also made the point that “what’s old is new again” precisely as a result of what modern means.

In another discussion, Christine spoke about one of their latest product innovations; an Immersive Glass Alcove product called Skycove, as having been born from these ideas.
The most significant takeaway from the experience was a richer perspective of the place Signature Windows + Doors chooses to claim in the design process. While we don’t have the expertise nor the “eye” of an architect, we do understand much more about what is possible with Marvin products. We plan to use that knowledge to offer alternative ways to achieve a design intent, collaborate on solutions to design challenges, and to serve as a resource regarding the industry more generally in case the design intent is better accomplished with products not brought to market by Signature Windows + Doors.

Posted February 24, 2020 by Signature Windows + Doors
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