Fireplaces add warmth

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 December, 2011, 12:00am


As Hong Kong's temperature dips and winter begins to set in, open fireplaces are making a comeback, especially with new designs that allow portability.

Flueless fireplaces allow easy attachment to the wall or can also be placed in open spaces - on the floor, a table or outside on a balcony.

Not only do these winter warmers create a snuggly and intimate atmosphere, they look exceptionally stylish too. One company leading the way is Dutch brand Safretti with models designed by leading European designers.

The Cube by Jan des Bouvrie is a contemporary take on the traditional fireplace with timeless simplicity and versatility of design. It can be assembled as a free-standing column or a single, three-dimensional block on the floor. Des Bouvrie describes The Cube as 'a unity of simplicity, emotion and warmth'.

Dora Siu of Kitchens + Interiors says this particular model will be popular in Hong Kong because of its designer feel. 'It also matches the simple, straight lines that local designers favour, and adds a touch of elegance without being too imposing in a contemporary space.' Siu says.

Another new addition to Safretti is the Apollo XL by Frans Schrofer. This solid floor-standing fireplace is a funky take on the traditional decorative paraffin candle. Bio-ethanol creates a smokeless, eco-friendly flame.

Atop the volcanic-shaped aluminium base, sits a hardened glass cylindrical sphere, which contains the flames and heat. Schrofer named his design after Apollo, the god of light, truth and healing. 'Apollo bathes an interior with its soft flames caressing its surroundings with warm light and creating a soothing atmosphere,' Schrofer says.

Also perfect for entertaining is the Eight by Hugo de Ruiter, which works well on dining or coffee tables. A suitable choice for smaller homes and interiors, Siu says it is a good alternative for those who want the cosy feel of a fireplace at home but don't have the floor space for a larger model.

De Ruiter has also designed The Wave which takes its design from a 500 million-year-old rock formation called Wave Rock in Hyden, Australia.

'This beautifully shaped rock shows that it is not only water that undulates,' says de Ruiter. Created as a centrepiece for any table, The Wave works well in small interiors. 'Eye-catching and stylish in its own right, The Wave works both as a design feature and a mesmerising focal point,' says Siu.