Sunset

Join Sunset in Palm Springs for Modernism Week to learn how we shaped Western design

Dakota Kim  – December 2, 2019

Modernism Week draws mid-century design-loving fans to Palm Springs for a rare opportunity to peek into exclusive, beautifully-designed homes. But besides being awed by gorgeous abodes, the 11-day celebration is a party—a chance to celebrate all things modernist and mid-century. 

One event you shouldn’t miss is called “How Sunset Magazine Shaped California and the West.” It will showcase a lively discussion on the unique vectors connecting modernism, California, and the West. The panel will take place at the historic Plaza Theatre, site of glamorous film premieres and important 1940s musical premieres.

The story of the West as a modern state evolved, in part, because of Sunset. Sunset’s role in shaping the idea of the West began in 1898 when owner Southern Pacific Railroad created the magazine to bring settlers to the region. Portraying a well designed, uniquely Western home featuring indoor-outdoor garden living and national parks as nearby backyards, Sunset became the design bible of the West. 

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But Sunset’s storied past faced erasure when its archives were nearly lost. Saved by a group of staffers and a Stanford archivist, the archives were moved to Stanford campus, where they still reside to this day.

The panel will feature Peter Fish, travel writer and former editor at Sunset; Ben Stone, Stanford Libraries curator for American and British history; and Elizabeth Logan, associate director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. Michael Shapiro, author of the Stanford magazine feature, The Legend of the Almost Lost, will moderate the discussion. Sally Kuchar, Sunset home editor, will also speak to the future of Sunset and its plan for home coverage.