Saturday, July 27, 2013

Escena in Palm Springs is First Tract House Development Since the 'Mad Men' Era


At the Los Angeles Times, "Escena Palm Springs: SoCal's first modern tract houses in decades":
Escena is believed to be the first single-family tract house development in Southern California built in a modern architectural style since the actual “Mad Men” era, when builders such as Joseph Eichler and the Alexander Construction Co. brought Midcentury Modern to the masses. The bet driving this development: that a new generation raised with smartphones, Ikea stores and hybrid cars understands that modern design is built into every object of their lives.

When it comes to home, the prevailing, post-recession sensibility is simple but cool. It’s smart and efficient. It’s comfort without excess. Escena houses, Poon says, are designed for the modern person who thinks, “I don’t want to be the guy driving the Hummer.”

So here on the north side of Palm Springs, where Gene Autry Trail meets Vista Chino, you will see no faux Italian villas striving for “Under a Tuscan Sun” romantic rusticity. No Spanish tile, no Moroccan arches, no board-and-batten ranch-house siding with a Western accent. These houses speak in the architectural language of flat roofs, open floor plans and maximum connection to the outdoors. Imagine floor tile that emulates the look of polished concrete. Or sleek, high-gloss kitchen cabinets imported from Italy and unencumbered by hardware. Or biofuel fireplaces that deliver ambience without pollution.

“There is a lot of beautiful, modern design in mixed-use projects, condos and apartments, but not in single-family housing,” says Poon, principal at Poon Design, a Beverly Hills firm whose portfolio includes Chaya, Saffron and Mendocino Farms restaurants. Any developer can crank out “Taco Bell” houses and make money, the architect says, “but I think it’s time — time to start offering high design to a mainstream marketplace."
Pretty nice, if you're into Ikea. Lots of photos at the article, in any case.