Alicia Keys' futuristic living room perfectly combines 'modernist design with warm minimalism' – the trend of the year

Space-age shapes and futuristic design give the latest furniture and accessories their stellar good looks. Welcome to the final frontier...

Alicia Keys
(Image credit: Getty Images / Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor)

Modernist, futuristic design – a significant trend in the early 2000s – is making its way back into the zeitgeist. But this time, modern decor is so much warmer, as Grammy award-winning singer Alicia Keys' living room demonstrates. 

Contemporary architecture can make a style statement while perfectly chiming with its environment. Success depends on using the right materials and opting for a sleek design that results in an effective blend of old and new. 

Less is more, so be careful not to over-design. Bear in mind too that very modern designs can sometimes feel stark and industrial, so balance this by introducing warmth with plenty of layered lighting and textured furnishings to add interest. 

Designed by Wallace E. Cunningham in La Jolla, California, this sleek 10,653-square-foot mansion is said to be the inspiration behind Tony Stark’s Malibu lair in the Iron Man film franchise, in addition to a starring role in Visa Black Card and Calvin Klein television commercials. 

Despite its modern bones, Alicia Keys' home includes plenty of warmer, personal touches. The easiest way to achieve this look is to mimic the warmest room color ideas from nature. Inspired by colors from the natural world, this warm minimalism aesthetic adds a gentle and soothing touch to interiors that can be layered with textures and tones to ebb and flow with the seasons.

'Using a natural palette, like the one above, is all about adding depth and contrast in different layers and textures,' says Jane Landino, creative head of the studio at Taylor Howes. 'To make a warm minimalist color palette feel designed, consider, and most importantly, contemporary it is vital to mix and match hues, albeit neutral ones. Just because something is beige doesn’t mean it has to be plain.'

Another way to soften modernist architecture is by using texture in the form of tactile objects like fabrics, wood, and stone to add physical comfort and visual interest to a modern living space. 

'Consider texture to be as important as color and pattern,' says Camilla Clarke, Creative Director at Albion Nord. 'There is nothing worse than a flat design. Interiors are all about evoking the senses and therefore texture is a vital ingredient to every design to get our sight and touch senses going.'

Rough and coarser textures like reclaimed wood or terracotta have more 'visual weight' and create a rustic aesthetic, while smooth or shiny textures, including metals like chrome, reflect more light and create a more contemporary finish.

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Decorating with neutrals, especially from the warm color spectrum, can create a feeling of seamless calm in a home. It’s a lovely considered look that isn't too difficult to recreate in your own home. 

Jennifer Ebert
Deputy Editor (Digital)

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.