“The year when the shock waves of the new ripped the seams of daily life . . . when categories were crossed and taboos were trampled, when everything was changing and everyone knew it — when the world as we now know it began to take form.”
-1959: The Year Everything Changed, by Fred Kaplan
RETREAT OF CHOICE
Palm Springs has long been the weekend retreat of choice for the rich and famous, providing an easy sidestep from the glare of fame and pressures of work, just two hours from Los Angeles. A desert ‘hideaway home’ became the ideal solution for many people — a place where one could play, relax, and cavort away from the public eye.
This idea of a carefree escape, far from the confines of normal life, was reflected in the joyful Desert Modern architectural style that developed in the mid-twentieth century – perfectly suiting the elegant-yet-informal, adventurous desert life under bright sunny skies.
Many Desert Modern buildings were designed by unknown young architects at the beginning of their careers. They found eager clients in Palm Springs, ready to embrace new, forward-thinking design ideas. Tourists, too, were also smitten with soaring roof lines, walls of glass, peek-a-boo exterior screens, and seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces. By 1959, Palm Springs was full of small, modern hotels. Visionary architects were putting their own spin on each new building that sprang up amongst the palms at the base of the San Jacinto mountains.
Azure Sky was originally completed in 1959.
Like many of these smaller hotels built in the 1950s and 60s in the area, the original architect, and original design aesthetic, became lost in the subsequent decades, buried in property sales, neglected as fashions changed, and covered up in remodels of the 1980s and 90s.
TODAY'S AZURE SKY
Lightning Bar Palm Springs, our design-build team, has worked to rediscover, refresh and renew the graceful rooflines, generous living spaces, and serene outdoor areas that make Azure Sky so unique — interpreting its original mid-century modern style into a form that is livable today.
A striking front entryway was created by Cioffi Architects and built by Hoffman Steel, both of Palm Springs. Created as a nod to the quintessential breeze block walls seen across the low desert, the new slatted steel screen provides privacy, shade, and integrates perfectly into our overall design direction and the original forms of the hotel. Our team of master finish carpenters created exquisite floating wooden beds, nightstands, accent walls, and the stunning wood-and-mirror banding in the lobby. The original pool area is now a central ‘meadow’ providing a serene, inviting courtyard with lush desert plants and unobstructed views of the San Jacinto Mountains.
A TRANQUIL SETTING
The goal of our design team was to create simple and understated style while retaining essential and unmistakable MCM elements, honoring the innovation of mid-twentieth century architectural thinking — while also welcoming our hotel into the luxury desert living style of today. Azure Sky promises the chance to unwind in a tranquil setting that is both modern and timeless…your own desert hideaway home, far from the hustle of daily life.
But in the desert, in the pure clean atmosphere, in the silence – there you can find yourself.