Sacha Baumann is an artist and designer living and working in Los Angeles.


The Thanksgiving holiday was spent in Palm Springs—four days of laziness in the 90 degrees winter heat of this funny desert city. A lot of other sun seeking tourists had the same idea—it was hopping.

Strangely, for all the tourists crowding the sidewalks on "Black Friday," the economy seems to be really suffering in downtown Palm Springs. For every occupied storefront there were two deserted ones. And the empty buildings more often than not were classic Mid-Century modern structures in serious disrepair. 

Clicking through my iPhone pics from the weekend just now, I realized part of the city's identity problem with travelers—how to keep the renowned kitschiness alongside the exploration of more cerebral parts of the city.

Tourists downtown were busy celebrating this: 

...instead of this:

People were actually lining up to take pictures of the truly bad Marilyn "art" sculpture (which recently arrived after spending some time in Chicago—'cuz who can take the Midwest winter?). I admit, I snapped a few too—including several of her gigantic grandma underwear clad butt. The ridiculousness is part of the fun of Palm Springs.

But I was sad to see architectural gems on the same stretch of the Boulevard that were disregarded and/or abandoned. There was a literal sign of hope on an empty, dusty E. Stewart Williams designed building:

The prospect of this pretty box of a building being transformed into a museum celebrating the unique design of the desert filled me with joy. Then again, so did snapping this pic of Meaux-Meaux with a gigantic poodle. I'm for both personalities of this town.

a delightful sight

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