It’s all about the… Floating Fireplace
December 5, 2011
The iconic fireplace design that put Focus on the map is as relevant today as at the time of its creation by Dominique Imbertin 1968. After studying literature in London and Paris, Dominique became, “by accident”, as he puts it, an ethnologist in Alaska and an assistant chef in Manhattan, before being awarded a Doctorate in Sociology at the Sorbonne and becoming a literature professor in a Paris Lycée. After teaching for four years, he decided he preferred shaping metal to moulding young minds, and in 1967, he set up a workshop making steel sculptures in the village of Viols-le-Fort in the garrigue north of Montpellier. It was at this studio that he designed his first fireplace for his own personal use, then repeated the exercise for others who fell in love with what he had created … and this was how Focus began. This self-taught sculptor-designer moves easily between his many passions, creating bronze and steel sculptures as well as fireplaces and furniture. The thread that unites all his creations is his insistence on quality, a pursuit shared by the exceptional team that works with him. In order to attain the quality he demands, Focus runs the production and distribution of all their products, and in the face of outsourcing has chosen to support the local production sites of their fireplaces. For this free-spirited artist, the independence to follow intuition rather than convention or trend is his guiding force: “What interests me is discovering and shaping the poetry and spirit of an object,” he says.
This mod, suspended model rotates 360 degrees, and has been exhibited in New York’s Guggeheim, The Bordeaux Modern Art Museum, and the Grenoble Modern Art Centre. One of the better websites I’ve found to see the many styles is www.oblica.com.au, there you will find great images of the shapes and styles still in production.
You can’t open a shelter magazine without finding a ceiling suspended fireplace. The trend is – pardon the pun – Red Hot! This fireplace and others like it work beautifully in minimal and modern settings, keeping the floor space open they allow a lightness and an uncluttered look. I love the strong visual statement they make and the flexibility of turning the opening to best suit viewing the fire within. Not sure if this one is a Focus fireplace as there are many other manufacturers of floating fireplaces, but I love the setting where this particular fireplace was used, it’s perfect! The finishes and clean lined furniture and modern architecture support the aesthetic of the contemporary firebox.
And you guessed it… This fireplace suits my favorite “Rustic Modern”. As at home in the woods as the city, the floating fireplace adds a modern twist to any space… well almost any. Please don’t try this in your Colonial or Cape house, unless of course it’s a total remodel and the new interiors work with it, not against it.
This is about as traditional a look as you can get in my book and keeping the fireplace appropriate. The rock wall and log style beams are rustic but the vaulted V-grove ceiling and beadboard say traditional, both work with the modern fireplace.