In a new course, which I have completed teaching last week, on the most iconic homes of the 20th century, I included the Elrod House in Palm Springs. One of the most celebrated houses of its time (completed in 1967 and featured in Los Angeles Times Home Magazine in 1968), and the ultimate expression of Space-Age residential architecture by California-based John Lautner, the Elrod House had come to capture the imagination and interest of generations of tastemakers and architects, epitomizing the concept of organic architecture, with the extraordinary way in which it has been inserted in its landscape. The Elrod House has not lost a bit of its glamour since first shown as the set of James Bond's Diamonds are Forever, where it was profiled by Sean Connery as the ultimate stylish bachelor pad. However, unlike his house, its owner, superstar interior designer Arthur Elrod was completely forgotten. Now, a new monograph by Adele Cygelman (published by Gibbs Smith), comes to illuminate and reveal the legacy and career of one of the most successful interior designers working in mid-century Palm Springs. It is illustrated with with rare images of his work, taken from archives and magazines, featuring the lifestyle of mid-century Palm Springs and the chic clients who lived in homes created to capture the moment. In his short-lived career, Elrod designed homes for such celebrities as Walt Disney, Lucille Ball, and Hoagy Camichael, until his tragic death in a car accident at 49. What I love when reading it, is the way in which real-estate, history, architecture, and lifestyle are all combined into a multifaceted publication, revealing the moment which will be celebrated next week in Modernism Week.
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