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Fanning the flames of great design

Opti-myst fires

Think of a fireplace. Picture its setting, the colour of the flames. Now, consider the feelings it inspires. The odds are that you pictured the fireplace at the centre of room, perhaps faced by a welcoming sofa or mesmerising family or friends.

Since the stone ages we’ve been congregating around fires. Of course, back in those days it was for protection, light, warmth. As we evolved, and technology began to make our lives more comfortable, the functional role of the fire diminished. Yes, we can still use the hearth as a source of warmth but for most of us, the fireplace has been replaced by gas and electric heating, which is more environmentally responsible and often-times more cost effective. And generally out of sight.

But that doesn’t mean the need for those feelings of comfort, hospitality and well-being have gone away. Do we get those same feelings when looking at a radiator? The answer is a resounding, no.

It’s this challenge that designers and architects face: how to create spaces that evoke those same emotions, without using fire. In commercial installations, be it a hotel lobby, downtown restaurant, or office reception area, this is a particular challenge. The aim of these spaces is to make people feel welcome, to linger, to enjoy the amenities on offer. Fireplaces are perfect for this; they form a natural focal point and help create the exact atmosphere that is needed to make the spaces hospitable.  

But just because fire has been discounted because of safety, compliance or impracticality issues, doesn’t mean that flame is out of the question. Just as technology has evolved to bring us heating that’s more efficient, it has also advanced to deliver innovative ways of including flame in homes, offices, and commercial spaces.

We’re talking about electric flame; a realistic, cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly way of creating atmosphere, using technology to mimic live flame. The key element of electric flame, apart from the obvious safety benefits, is that it is completely flexible. It can be used by architects and designers in any number of ways, from the traditional stone fireplace, to a magnificent room divider, or as a standalone statement piece.

The options are endless. 3D flame installations use a number of technologies to deliver this realistic flame effect, from fine water mist to HD TV technology.

These flame effects are ideal for spaces where existing structures can’t be changed (for example listed buildings), where chimneys and flues aren’t working, or where heat is really not needed from a fireplace. There are also additional benefits, like low maintenance, no emissions, and visual appeal.

These flame installations are completely realistic, with none of the downsides, and still provide that focal point, mesmerising flame that welcomes and entices people to stay longer.  

At this year’s 100% Design exhibition – taking place 19-22 September at Olympia London – Glen Dimplex Heating and Ventilation will be showcasing some of the latest technology in flame installations, including our Opti-myst and Opti-V products, as well as the recently launched e-MatriX, created by Faber. The innovative product range and our highly experienced team will be on Stand L135 ready to demonstrate the benefits of our range of gas and electric fire solutions, and discuss how these products can complement your design process.

Visit us on stand to find out more.