Bold. Luxurious. Dramatic. Stylish. Modern.
As we look beyond the sense of restriction and isolation that has plagued the world during 2020 and 2021, we can see fireplace design trends rebel against these feelings of melancholy. Looking forward to the season of 2021/22, fireplaces have moved away from being ‘merely’ functional to become the epitome of style and luxury – not to mention the ultimate bringer of ambiance and adding a feeling of comfort and tranquillity to your indoor and outdoor living spaces.
“Homeowners, designers and architects want fireplaces that add a design statement to their modern and traditional-style architectural environments with minimal cost and disruption.”Stephane Thomas, Director of MAD Design
There’s no denying that fireplaces add that extra something to a space – but what’s trending for the upcoming season (and beyond!)?
Think minimalist style and clean lines that let the element of fire speak for itself. This season is all about boundary-pushing, bold fireplace design unhampered by the limitations of traditional fireplaces.
The trend: blending right in
A hallmark of beautiful design is the feeling of symbiosis, created as elements of a space work together for effortless effect. And you can’t get any smoother than a flush mounted or frameless fireplace.
This trend can be taken in multiple design directions; an elegant single-sided fireplace built into bespoke cabinetry for a more traditional take, or a longline XL1200 ethanol burner seamlessly integrated underneath a television for an ultra-modern feel. The key to achieving this look is a quality burner that can be installed with ease into any location the designer wishes.
“Many architects and interior designers have taken an integrated approach – placing a flat-screen TV on a custom-built wall above an indoor fireplace,” says Thomas. “It’s been popular for a few years and will no doubt be an enduring trend.”
Los Angeles architect Michael Parks used an EcoSmart Fire solution to create a 6-foot long flame using two XL900 Burners within a striking custom-made wall within the living room of ‘Rising Glen, a stunning home in the Hollywood Hills. The recessed TV sits perfectly above the fire, which is flanked by two floor-to-ceiling windows. “Because of the size of the living room and the height of the ceilings, a single, three-foot fireplace would have looked really small, so I had to find something that visually had the scale to match the room,” Michael explains.
Thomas says that providing architects and designers with design freedom is at the heart of EcoSmart Fire’s myriad solutions. “Our Flex fireplace inserts provide this flexibility to enable visions to come to life,” he says. “These ventless inserts are fuelled by clean-burning, emission-free, eco-friendly e-NRG bioethanol and therefore don’t require a chimney or connections to gas or electricity. This means you can easily add a custom, built-in fireplace to any indoor or outdoor area – and that includes residential and hospitality/commercial spaces.”
See it in action: Shape Shifter
When designing a contemporary new single dwelling from scratch, architectural and interior design firm SAAJ Design in Melbourne was given carte blanche to celebrate as many design opportunities as possible.
From the outset, a fireplace was an important element. But combining a wealth of organic materials with fire was always going to be a challenge. Using an EcoSmart burner gave the designer the ability to create an eco-friendly, ventless fireplace within an organic form adjacent to a timber material.
Carved into recycled she-oak timber veneer and intersected with a suspended floating granite hearth, the EcoSmart Fire presents an ironic design element: fire burning within what appears to be a chopped section of a tree log.
The trend: through the looking glass
If your space oozes sophistication and style but is missing a focal point to draw everything together, consider this striking fireplace trend: double sided and triple sided fireplaces. Fitted with glass on opposing sides (or up to three or even four sides for full dramatic effect), these centrepieces can be set into dividing walls or decorative pillars. The glass setting allows the burner to be viewed from all angles, ensuring the ambiant effect infiltrates the entire space.
“Double-sided fireplaces are visually stunning,” says Thomas. “They act as a statement piece in an open-plan design. I’ve seen them used many times as a divider between spaces with amazing results.”
To get the best of both worlds, installing a double-sided fireplace into an exterior wall will enable you to harness the beauty of fire in both your indoor and outdoor living spaces … at the same time!
Double- or triple-sided fireplaces also bring a feeling of cosiness to any room while expanding the usable space.
See it in action: Bali Style
On the coast of Western Australia lies a home created to give its owners a taste of holiday luxury every day. In particular, the room that encapsulates this perfectly is the master suite; located on the first floor, the room enjoys ocean and garden views, whilst serving the dual purposes of bedroom and bathroom.
Arc Seven.1, the design company behind the creation of this home, wanted to bring the luxury Bali-style retreat experience into their client’s home. To further enhance this feeling of ultimate luxury, an EcoSmart Fire was installed as a kind of room divider, rather than having to build a more conventional wall or screen. Combining the two into one, so the views could be enjoyed from either space, really enhanced the sense of a private retreat.
The trend: supersize it
If you’re looking to create a bold centrepiece in your residential, hospitality or other commercial space, this fireplace trend fits the bill. Extra-large fireplaces with features like oversized hearths and huge chimneys with beautiful stonework, or fireplaces set with multiple burners are wowing international designers.
Especially well-suited to large commercial and hospitality spaces such as hotel lobbies and restaurants, extra-large fireplaces are complemented beautifully by statement design details that emphasise the element of fire – think mirrors (to reflect light), wooden accents, stonework and heavy metals.
Extra-large fireplaces are able to send an ambiant glow over the largest of spaces, making them feel cosier without sacrificing space. Not for the faint-hearted, this is one trend that will be making waves for years to come.
See it in action: Dramatic Entrance
Located in Times Square, in the heart of New York City’s theatre district, it made sense that the centrepiece of the Paramount Hotel lobby be somewhat dramatic.
For Meaghan Wren from interior design firm Meyer Davis and project manager for the lobby renovation, the new lobby is a ‘modern interpretation of theatre.’ And she has created a design statement that epitomises that philosophy.
Three mounted EcoSmart XL burners magnified threefold by sheets of polished stainless steel have replaced a winding staircase that previously occupied the space, creating a warm and moody atmosphere.
Drawing inspiration from the theatrical district, the energy of the space needed to draw people in and therefore make it a place for them to socialise and interact with other guests.
The trend: moving the indoors outdoors
Striking fire pits and sleek outdoor burners are some of the biggest outdoor design trends to emerge from the COVID-19 global pandemic. As we spent more time at home, we turned our focus to enhancing and expanding our liveable spaces – with special focus on precious outdoor space we could utilise all year round.
“Outdoor fireplaces serve to make your outdoor space more inviting while highlighting the natural elements in your garden,” says Thomas. “Using fire and light in an outdoor dining space brings the cosiness of the indoors into the outdoors. It also adds a luxurious element.”
Statement pieces like the EcoSmart Stix Fire Pit are perfect for those who have a larger outdoor space and love entertaining all year round, while a more streamlined, multi-functional solution like the EcoSmart Gin 90 Dining Fire Table will blend beautifully into patios, courtyards or balcony spaces.
See it in action: Outback Retreat
Overlooking the World Heritage-listed wilderness of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory is luxury desert camp Longitude 131. The main drawcard of this incredible retreat is the stunning view of Uluru that can be seen from each of the 15 luxury tents available.
Designer Max Pritchard has used elements of modernity to enhance the nature surrounding Longitude 131 – his feature pieces being carefully-placed stainless steel XL700 burners set into elegant, low-set stone and rosewood timber benches on the balcony of each luxury tent. This gorgeous design enables guests to lie back on the daybed and gaze out over the dancing flames to Uluru, omnipresent in the background.
The trend: TVs above fireplaces
One of the most popular inquiries from design professionals and consumers is for fireplaces that enable flat-screen TVs to be mounted above them.
“Fireplaces and televisions complement each other beautifully. They provide entertainment, ambiance, warmth, double your viewing pleasure and become a room’s visual centrepiece,” says Thomas. “With EcoSmart’s range of vent-free zero-clearance fireplace inserts and ethanol burners, it makes building a custom fireplace a lot easier, compared with traditional wood-burning fireplaces, which need chimney flues. It also means that you can hide TV wires and cables a lot more easily. Because a TV above a fireplace will become the room’s focal point, you want to hide the technological clutter.”
See it in action
Acclaimed Los Angeles architect Michael Parks installed two EcoSmart XL900 Burners into a specially-created cavity to create a 6-foot ethanol fireplace to match the scale of the room in a striking home in the Hollywood Hills. A large flat-screen TV was set into a special recessed cavity above the elongated fire.
“The living room fireplace and cavity are built into a section of protruding wall that is defined by two floor-to-ceiling windows on either side,” Michael explains. “Because of the size of the living room, and the height of the ceilings, a single, three-foot fireplace would have looked really small, so I had to find something that visually had the scale to match the room. The ability to drop two XL900 Burners into the opening, and then have the sleek design aesthetic EcoSmart is known for, was a really great marriage.”
For London banker Sebastien Gianmermi and his architect-trained wife, the requirement was for a wide fireplace to fit beneath a 50-inch LED screen, and which could be incorporated into the HIFI joinery in their refurbished penthouse. A stainless-steel, zero-clearance fireplace insert with an XL900 burner was chosen, and the end result is a stunning indoor centrepiece that integrates into the sleek space.
Award-winning Miami-based architect and interior designer Pepe Calderin has gone even one step further. In this amazing home on Fisher Island, off Miami, Pepe created a double sided, see-through fireplace, with three BK5 ethanol burners used to create a long burner within a marble cavity. On one side is the expansive living room with a large home theatre projector screen, and on the other a home office. The result is a stunning fire that both joins and divides two different spaces.
MAD Design’s 7 popular fireplace trends:
1. Linear designs
Straight, clean lines enhance both traditional-style and contemporary interiors. EcoSmart Fire’s Flex Series of fireplace inserts boast sleek designs with black powder-coated steel frames and toughened glass panels.
2. Self-contained fireplaces
The absence of a ‘frame’ enhances a clean-line design and makes the flames the focus. All 219 models in the Flex Series are zero-clearance, giving the freedom to install into a wall or as a stand-alone feature.
3. Large fireplaces
Large fireplaces make a bold, eye-catching statement and create a high-end luxury look. “The Flex Series of ventless fireplace inserts has a wide choice of large viewing area openings – up to an impressive 158 inches (401.32cm),” says MAD Design’s Stephane Thomas.
Flex Fireplaces’ flush-mounting creates a seamless transition between the fireplace and its surrounds and emphasises the streamlined design.
5. Corner fireplaces
With two open sides, Flex Left Corner and Right Corner fireplaces provide the freedom to customise a solution to create a stunning horizontal fire.
6. Double-sided fireplaces
The Flex Series’ Double-sided Fireplace – with transparent glass on the front and back – Island Fireplace for partial walls, and three-sided Peninsula Fireplace for installation at the end of a partial wall, are ideal for small commercial spaces or dividing open floor plans.
7. Gas fireplaces
Gas fireplaces have certainly evolved dramatically over the years! Not only do they beautifully imitate wood-burning fireplaces, they’re also convenient, eco-friendly and clean-burning. EcoSmart’s range of gas fireplaces* are suitable for both warm and cold environments and provide a range of options for freestanding fireplaces or custom fireplaces for both large and smaller outdoor spaces. And you can choose from Natural Gas or LP Gas*.