Designed by American architect John Lautner for interior designer Arthur Elrod, the Elrod House was built in 1968 and is one of Palm Springs’ most famous residential structures. Probably best known for its appearance as Willard Whyte’s mansion in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, Elrod House is iconic, distinctive and as culturally relevant today as it was over 40 years ago.
Before building, the site was excavated eight feet to expose rock, which was then integrated into the house. The rocks form part of the interior of the house, while the shape and plan of the residence mirrors features within said rocks.
The main feature of the house has got to be the circular shape that makes up the living room and nearby living areas. The concrete domed roof is a real statement structure that dominates the space, with curved glass walls leading out to a swimming pool that looks out to the city below it. The modest concealed entrance, on the other hand, evokes a sense of simplicity – making the drama that lies behind it all the more surprising.
Despite built during Palm Springs’ mid-century modernist revolution, Lautner dismissed the clean lines and geometric shapes of his peers to create a space that was fluid, unique and uncategorisable; his designs often regarded as forming the basis of inspiration for the contemporary architecture of Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry.
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Words by Angharad Jones. Images property of Elrod House.