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Tropical Minimal is a beautifully illustrated book that doesn't so much inform as inspire. It's a picture book of contemporary homes in tropical locales, mostly Australasia, all sharing a modernist (not minimalist) aesthetic. Richard Powers' large, color photos are grouped by room-type rather than by project, but what is lost in context is made-up in pictorial detail. The text introducing each chapter is lush and evocative (tropical, even), and the photo captions typically, though inconsistently, name the architect or designer (but never the project, making follow-up difficult). This impressionistic style continues in the concluding "elements" section which is a mini-compendium of photo details and descriptions that suggest a poetic `pattern language' for reading the previous layouts.
The homes depicted here are far less "exotic" and "minimal" than the publisher's description suggests. The interiors are all extremely comfortable and modern and the exteriors cultivated and manicured; not a hut or cabana in sight (and hardly a beach). As for "far-flung locations," over half of the 39 named designers are from Australia, and only 2 are from South America; none are from Europe, Africa, or Asia north of Bangkok. It would be interesting to compare these homes to those in Phylis Richardson's larger book, Living Modern Tropical (which also features photography by Richard Powers and from the same publisher), and to Raul Barreneche's books by Rizzoli to see how 'tropical modern' might be expressed differently.
But whatever it's called, these warm, clean-lined interiors in their rich and verdant settings are beautifully presented in this book. It's easy to imagine living here.