Here are some design notes when it comes to modern pergola designs. The most common pergola design is to have decorative and somewhat rounded ends on the beam. The easiest way of creating a more modern pergola is to do away with the decorative ends.
Glass-Block Trellis Add privacy to a patio with a trellis punctuated by glass blocks. The light pattern that shines through the glass blocks, changes with the movement of the sun. The homeowners chose heavy wood posts for the pergola
A Pergola with Personality! Part sculpture, part light fixture, a massive overhead structure offers support for illumination and blooms while the existing brick wall of the house teases the eye with a bit of trompe loeil painting. (Better Homes Gardens)