About Denver Modernism Week

Denver Modernism Week, now in its second year, is an annual event designed to celebrate the mid-century modern architecture, design, and culture that is prevalent in the Denver area.

August 16-25, 2019, we will be working in partnership with local businesses, institutions, neighborhoods, and non-profits to present a series of events. They will be fun, educational, and will raise awareness about good local mid-century modern design and architecture, the stories and people behind it, and will emphasize the importance of its ongoing preservation. These include home and neighborhood tours, talks and slideshows, exhibits, and much more.

We are also supporting several events in advance of the week, including a monthly Modernism Series in partnership with the Denver Architecture Foundation, the Denver Art Museum’s Serious Play: Design in Mid-Century America exhibit (open now), and financial support to similar mid-century modern events around the country, such as Modern Phoenix Week, and the Albuquerque Modern Home Tour.

Why We Created Denver Modernism Week

Denver and surrounding communities are fortunate to have had so many innovative modern architects, designers, and builders working here in the 1940s-70s, with a robust economy strong enough to support their efforts. There has long been appreciation for this cultural heritage by a small group of historians, enthusiasts, and others, but it has become clear that as more new people move to our city, and more generations are raised in the city with limited awareness of this unique period in time, building a greater cultural awareness of this design heritage is necessary.

Following the model of Palm Spring Modernism Week, which for years has been raising awareness of the architecture and design talent there, we are creating an event where great mid-century modern design can be experienced in a more profound and personal way than as pages in a book or images on a screen. By partnering with local businesses, institutions, neighborhoods, and non-profits that are all stakeholders in this history, we hope that preservation through education (and experience) will prevail.

What is Mid-Century Modern Design?

There are many ways to answer this question, however in the context of Denver Modernism Week, we are specifically focused on the architecture designed by modernist architects and builders that were influenced by the Bauhaus School and the ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright, which inspired the most cutting edge buildings in the city primarily during the 1950s and ’60s. While it is tempting to see modernism as a style, it is really more a philosophy that says that the design of a building should be driven by nature, context, and the human experience rather than by the preconceived notions of a particular style. By exploring new ways of enclosing space, using elegant (often exposed) structural systems, capturing natural light and ventilation, employing both natural and high-tech materials, embracing outdoor rooms, and so much more, mid-century modern architects believed in the ideal that well designed buildings had the capability of elevating the human condition. We believe this idea is still true today.

Adjoining the great architecture of the time, we also celebrate the furniture, objects, clothing, graphic design, artwork, music, and other aspects of the same time period that would have been an integral part of mid-century modern living.

Denver Modernism Week Organizers

Denver Modernism Week was founded by three partners, Adrian Kinney, Dana Sednek, and Atom Stevens. We all live in the Denver area and are deeply passionate about teaching others all we can of Denver’s mid-century modern heritage. We each also live in one of Denver’s noteworthy mid-century modern neighborhoods: Atom in Harvey Park, Dana in South Dahlia Lane, and Adrian in Lynwood, and are obsessively knowledgeable about the neighborhoods in which we live. This project is a labor of love, and one for which are committed to carry forward for as long as we can. Thank you in advance to the sponsors, partners, volunteers, and others that help us make this week possible, and we look forward to seeing you in August.

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