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Maximum pretense

Tropical Minimal Danielle Miller and Richard Powers Thames & Hudson, $40

April 06, 2006|Bettijane Levine

This book offers yet another trendy interior design peg on which to hang a pseudoaesthetic hat.

"Tropical Minimal" is exactly what its name implies. It requires a special location (tropical), a minimalist bent (think Philippe Starck or Ludwig Mies van der Rohe), and enough money to hire the architects, builders and interior designers who will make the project worthy of inclusion in a book like this.

This is not an easy task. For Tropical Minimal, as illustrated here, the ideal is to dwell somewhere not just exotic, but divine -- someplace, let's say, surrounded by a eucalyptus grove or a rain forest reachable only by private plane. Or perhaps outside the vast walls of sliding glass, an ocean laps onto your private strand of fine pink sand. Whatever.

This book is filled with photos of elegant interiors, the most appealing of which have floors of limestone or concrete, walls of glass and furniture that is, well, minimal.

There is not enough information in the captions or in the authors' overblown essay to capture the curiosity of those who might really appreciate an informed look at minimalist interiors in a climate such as Los Angeles or anywhere else.

-- Bettijane Levine

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