By Sophie Richards, Project Manager of MOCA+
Illustrated by Jacqueline Colley
As a newcomer to the world of design, my trip to Palm Springs Art Museum for the Weekend of Architecture on May 22 and 23rd, was more than a little intimidating. I knew that I would be meeting celebrated designers, authors, editors and architects while in Palm Springs - a prospect which definitely excited me. Yet I also worried what we would talk about and how I could relate to them when I had very little experience in the field. Inevitably, I was proven wrong in more ways than one.
The Weekend of Architecture did, of course, focus on preservation, good design and architectural gems. From a different angle, however, it revolved around the idea that design was integral to creating a strong sense of home for oneself.
To kick off the weekend we hosted a small luncheon at the Skylark Hotel pool for some of the guests. It was around 80 degrees, unseasonably cool for Palm Springs, as we sat around small tables enjoying our deli sandwiches and iced tea. The guests had come from near and far, all traveling to the desert for a chance to be a part of good design. Everyone was in high spirits, even after long plane rides, laughing about uncanny coincidences and reminiscing about how they came to be where they are. I listened eagerly, wrapped up in stories of moving across the country, or even one guest finding out this perfect stranger sitting next to them might have actually been their next door neighbor in Brooklyn. The world started to feel very small, even as I was sitting beside people I knew next to nothing about.
I quickly realized that these guests were more than their professional titles. The intimidation that I felt previously started to slip away as I realized that this weekend did not have to solely be about architecture and design, but instead an opportunity to collectively value the notion of ‘home.’ The Weekend of Architecture did, of course, focus on preservation, good design and architectural gems. From a different angle, however, it revolved around the idea that design was integral to creating a strong sense of home for oneself. Not only did guests have the opportunity to tour Frey House II, one of Albert Frey’s long term residences, but they also heard from the Stahl family about their experience growing up in Case Study House #22. Once I looked at it from this perspective, I understood that to all of us attending this Weekend of Architecture, ‘home’ is of the utmost importance, and thus good design is essential. It turns out that I could relate to the guests, even if it wasn’t in the way I was expecting.
My trip to the desert showed me that design has the capacity to bring people together, whether it be in the form of admiring a beautiful estate, or even just the realization of a common connection that two people grew up in Brooklyn and share childhood memories. After being a part of the Weekend of Architecture, home became an even more important piece of my life, as I saw first hand the power it has to turn strangers into neighbors.
Sophie Richards graduated from Lewis & Clark College this year with a degree in Communications. She now lives in San Francisco's quintessential Haight Ashbury neighborhood and enjoys admiring the historic victorian houses.