In the world of Arizona landscaping, Steve Martino is a bit of a legend. To many, Martino is considered one of the most innovative designers in the West. In his work, Martino combines the colors and aesthetic values of the Mexican artist Luis Barragan with fresh materials. He then accents these scenes with plants that are native to the arid Southwest climate. With his integration of modern elements and notes of Arizona’s classic Southwest aesthetic, Martino manages to create landscape architecture that renders the viewer feeling nostalgic yet refreshed all at once.
For Modernism Week, a design festival taking place in Palm Springs from February 11 through February 21, Martino will be speaking on his innovative and colorful design tactics, which are near and dear to many a Arizona resident.
“Martino is a plant guy,” says Paul Ortega, a local desert designer working hard to develop a stronger Landscape and Outdoor Living program for Modernism Week. “His plant palette is much the same as ours so his plant choices, and their relationship to constructed modern elements, is totally doable here.”
Modernism Week features exhibits, cocktail parties, speakers, and other assorted events, as well as modernist media that celebrates and fosters an appreciation for mid-century design. Whether you’re an interior designer or just a hobbyist, this is an even you won’t want to miss. Tickets are selling fast, but are available online.
Ortega’s efforts to incorporate more outdoor living into the week reflect a larger national desire. According to a recent landscaping survey, over half of all respondents (52%) identified “green areas” as a feature that they would like to see more in their towns and urban areas.
Thanks largely to Ortega, the landscape and outdoor living activities are ample for this year’s Modernism Week, with several activities that offer instruction and design inspiration for outdoor space, teaching people how to utilize plants to make outdoor areas relaxing and aesthetically pleasing.