By Heidi Simmons

There was a buzz at the Prefab Showcase and Modern Living Expo. The saxophone and trumpet of the Hot Purple Energy band grooved their alternative, improvised music to people wondering around the exhibits. The four-man band seemed never to take a break and never to tire. They were enjoying themselves and so were those milling about the Modernism Week Event. With over 30 exhibitors and ten food trucks providing a variety of delectables from shaved ice to sushi, it was a very stimulating day.

The morning started at 10:00 with over 120 bike riders for the Hot Purple Energy Architectural Bike Tour, North Loop. The tour began at the Expo Village on Calle Encilia, went down to Ramon Road and wound its way through neighborhoods all the way north to Vista Chino, before returning to the Prefab Showcase. There were 16 homes on the tour; five are powered by HPE solar systems. This Saturday, February 22, they will do a South Loop Tour, which will start at the Saguaro Hotel at Sunrise and E. Palm Canyon. The event is free.

David Clemens, a Laguna Beach designer, came for the weekend with friends. “It’s a great way to keep up with the trends,” Clemens said. “The whole week is ideal, but you can see a lot in a weekend.”

The Expo village had two prefab houses on display. The MiniHome and Method Homes both had perfect little houses to tour. Simplified and compact, there is something very appealing to these prefab, self-contained living spaces. Although they can be small, they can also be built larger and combined to make any custom size space.

“Everything is assembled in a controlled environment,” said Pat Grabowski of MiniHome. “A prefabricated house saves time and money. You can create anything you want and it’s done when it arrives.” Prefabricated homes are made at an indoor location and shipped ready to assemble at a prepared site.

The Method Home prototype house on display was also for sale. Their structures begin at $138,000 for 656 square feet. It is very inviting and tempting to consider since they are so comfortable and beautiful. No amenities are spared, but at over $200 a square foot, not including the land, it should be perfect. Prefabricated homes are a modern idea for sure, and maybe in the future they will become more affordable.

Inside the Expo tent, exhibitors showed: furniture — both indoors and out; landscaping materials; architectural software; cabinets; glass garage doors; custom house numbers and ingenious patio covers. Designers and builder were also present. Everything under the tent had a modern or contemporary feel.

Marc Savelle came from Los Angeles where his company, Menzie International, has a five thousand square foot showroom of contemporary European furniture for the home, office and outdoors. “We brought too much for this small space,” Savelle said. “This is our first time here, so we are experimenting with what works best.” On display, which he had rearranged several times, was a sectional couch with all-weather fabric and colorful wood chairs and table.

Local Palm Springs resident, Daniel Clemens (no relation to David Clemens) of Desert Landscape Design Inc., was under the tent even though his business is just across the way on Palm Canyon. “I’ve been a part of Modernism Week for years,” said Clemens. “We are located in the “Artists District” which is all original buildings from the modernism era of Palm Springs.” As part of the festivities, the “Artists District” hosted a party Sunday night called Gay’ole Evening of Art and Design. Clemens and many on his block are working at building a larger Palm Springs community of galleries and artists.

With all the colorful furniture, creative materials and inspiring design ideas, one exhibitor stood out with his fascinating and adorable StaBiles: Unique Tillandsia Design and Collectible Plant Vendor. These are those crazy plants that live off air. Samuel Guzmán is the artist and plant caregiver. He builds single wire frames as plant stands accentuated by the Tillandsia.

Guzmán has a mobile boutique truck, which he keeps open for viewing. Inside are his workbench, designs and plants. The plants are so interesting; they’re like little pets. “I’m from Santa Barbara and the StaBiles are really popular there, so I thought I’d try selling the StaBiles here at Modernism Week,” said Guzmán. He applied to be an exhibitor and was accepted. “People like them and they’re selling well.” Guzmán and his plants are both charming. The StaBiles seem the perfect accessory to any modern room.

If you missed the Prefab Showcase and Modern Living Expo last week, no worries. It will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday (February 21, 22 and 23) from 10:00 am until 5:00. It’s located at 384 N. Indian Canyon Drive.

Previous articleGraceland West
Next articleSe7en4: Ready To Set It On Fire