Catch the golden glow. My recent visit to Sunnylands started at the Sunnylands Center + Gardens, the new modern structure, designed by Frederick Fisher & Partners, Architects, at the entrance to the vast grounds.
Upon entering the Center, I was greeted by expansive views of the gardens with the surrounding mountains. The large walls of glass appear to let the roof float above steel pillars. On both sides, serene reflecting pools next to linear rows of spiked Golden Barrel cactus, Desert Agave, and Sweet Acacia trees, set a mood of natural rhythms with the light and shadows cast by the bright desert sun.
The garden café with views of the Sweet Acacia trees and the mountains.
Inside the Center, media stations invite the visitor to learn about things to come.
By watching the orientation film, I discovered the evolution of the Annenberg site from the desert sands of the early 1960s, to its new role today as The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands.
I appreciate the Annenberg's vision for the Foundation, as both a Retreat Center to facilitate communication, and to continue efforts to achieve world peace, and a testimony to recent American political history.
The short films of important events that took place at the home made me understand the historic political significance of the residence. I realized, how passionately Walter and Leonore Annenberg worked in their respective roles in public service, and on the global stage, by offering a private venue where political leaders could speak candidly.
Then, it was all aboard the luxurious golf cart to tour the grounds and the home.
The lagoon on the way to the home.
View of the grounds, the golf course, birds sculpture
We approached the home, toured the interior of the residence and the guest house. The design was early mid-century Modern – defined geometric shapes, open trellises, steel beams and glass walls.
As my group was escorted through the home, I contemplated the sculptures, the paintings, the various collections of artifacts and objects so loved by the couple. On display in the intimate study were so many photos, messages, and notes sent by their friends in gratitude.
The rooms flowed one into another, each decorated in different styles and colors. Ceramics, Bronzes and Jades from Ancient China were displayed on sideboards and low tables. A small ceramic sculpture from the Chinese Court, fashioned into a lamp, and colorful Chinese Cloisonné objects, each had a unique story.
The Flora Danica porcelain bowls displayed in the dining room are part of the most extensive collection of its kind outside a museum. The tour was a wonderful experience, allowing the viewer a brief glimpse into their lives.
I hope these photos entice you to visit this special place, and pique your interest in Sunnylands.
If you are in the greater Palm Springs area, a visit to Sunnylands is a way to connect with the vision of Walter and Leonore Annenberg and spend an exceptional day in the sun.
more information: www.sunnylands.org
photo credit: all photos Jasmin B.