Living Modern from Thames & Hudson tells us that modern spaces are, indeed, decorated—that they are more creative and less purist than we would imagine at first.
The book is arranged into sections that take apart and explore elements from within and around how modern spaces are created.
Place, the first book division puts the modern home into the context of place—or how it relates to various settings from New York to Sri Lanka and even exotic places like Bali—using architecture and materials to integrate light, climate, and the unique environment of those places.
Style, of course, uses theme to group modern elements together such as rustic, mid-century modern, or sleek minimal.
A section called Materials reveals how the architecture is composed, for example, or how combinations of glass, steel, brick, plaster or more are featured to create the look.
Surfaces follows materials in a natural progression, highlighting rough with smooth, texture, and hard against soft—the unspoken features that give a modern room ambience.
Function follows and considers, of course, how rooms are used; then into how rooms make us feel with Ambience, a section that takes in natural light, color or absence of color, wallpaper and other choices that help to create “a feeling”, such as the way an open fire helps us to relax.
And, finally, sections on Elements, Furniture and Outdoor further help to define modern space.
The book is back-ended by Resources—lists of firms that excel in creating modern, retailers that feature modern products; picture references, and the book ends with the Index.
The photographs—and there are a myriad of them—are flat, meaning not shiny like a magazine spreas, but they are clearly beautiful, expansive photographs from carefully-chosen vantage points. Some are breath-taking too, encompassing huge landscapes, while others are more detail-oriented.
All-in-all, "modern living" (in small case on the book jacket) is a book that demonstrates all the foundations of what modern room style is all about, and gives you lots of pages with which to learn it.
Living Modern: The Sourcebook of Contemporary Interiors by Phyllis Richardson; Photographs by Richard Powers, Thames & Hudson. ISBN: 978-0-500-51698-0. Retail: $29.95