Palm Springs Tiki

Gibbs Smith

SKU: 8648

$35.00 USD

Palm Springs Tiki presents a visual exploration of a mid-century tropical paradise in the California desert.

From the 1930s through the 1970s, Palm Springs and other desert communities embraced the mid-century fantasy of a home-grown Polynesian paradise. The concept of the oasis and that of the tropical island shared the qualities of exotic escapism for the urban dweller, these would-be islanders under the desert sun. Sprouting from the arid desert were Polynesian restaurants, bars, nightclubs and lounges, hotels, motels, apartments, and trailer parks decorated with Tikis.

Celebrities frequented Palm Springs’ Don the Beachcomber, the El Mirador’s South Pacific Room, the Bamboo Room at the Racquet Club, and Aloha Jhoe’s. Average Americans vacationed at the city’s Tropics Motor Lodge with its Reef Bar and the Tiki Spa; and resided at the Aloha Palms and Kauai apartments and condominiums such as the Royal Hawaiian. In Rancho Mirage, the “Fly In / Drive In” Desert Air Hotel hosted luaus attracting over a thousand people, and at Bing Crosby’s Blue Skies Village was parked a trailer disguised as a Polynesian hut surrounded by Tikis. Palm Desert, the Salton Sea, Desert Hot Springs, and far-flung desert outposts all had their own tropical hideaways.

Through myriad captivating objects, historic photographs, vintage postcards, colorful architectural renderings, and other ephemera, Sven Kirsten’s and Peter Moruzzi’s Palm Springs Tiki shows readers the many imaginative concepts that proprietors developed in creating a tropical paradise in the California desert. This book is a brightly colored gem full of historical information for both lovers of Tiki and mid-century Palm Springs.

Sven Kirsten, cinematographer, photographer, and author, has written five books about tiki style, how it relates to midcentury modernism, and America’s historic love of Polynesia. He also curates tiki exhibitions, advises on new thematic restaurants, and designs tiki mugs. Originally from Hamburg, Germany, Kirsten now makes his home in Los Angeles.

Historian and author Peter Moruzzi is a long-time preservationist with a passion for midcentury modern architecture and design. Born in Massachusetts and raised in Hawaii, Moruzzi graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and later attended the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. In 1999, he was founding president of the Palm Springs Modern Committee. He has authored six pictorial history books published by Gibbs Smith covering Havana, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Moruzzi lives in Palm Springs.