Famed interior designer Arthur Elrod ruled Palm Springs from 1953, when he opened his design firm, until his untimely death in a car crash in 1974.
Adele Cygelman, author of “Palm Springs Modern” (Rizzoli, 1999) and longtime shelter magazine editor and writer, will give a fascinating talk about Arthur Elrod and his influence on the Coachella Valley.
Elrod’s first commissions were the desert homes of Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz and Hoagy Carmichael at Thunderbird Country Club. Those celebrity connections launched a hugely successful design practice that paralleled the rise of the desert’s distinctive modern architecture and the transition of Palm Springs from a village with informal dude ranches to a cosmopolitan resort with celebrated country clubs. He collaborated closely with architects William F. Cody, E. Stewart Williams, John Porter Clark, Hugh Kaptur and Howard Lapham, and his projects were published frequently in Architectural Digest, the Los Angeles Times Home magazine and Palm Springs Life.
But the crowning glory of Elrod’s career was the home he commissioned in 1968 from John Lautner. Set into a rocky ridge, Elrod’s house was a space-age marvel of concrete and glass, a house that has become iconic thanks to continued publication around the world and a memorable scene in “Diamonds Are Forever.”
Arthur Elrod’s name continues to make headlines mainly because of his house on Southridge. But his influential interior design has been eclipsed by the laser-like focus on Palm Springs architecture. It’s time to bring him out of the shadows.