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Friday, April 27, 2007

Modern Fireplaces

I have always been a big fan of contrast. Playing light against dark, old against new and most of all modern against traditional. Some of my favorite designers are masters at this, and in my mind, the tension you create can make a room much more interesting, than if you had stuck with just one style.
Today's post is about modern fireplaces. A fireplace represents a unique opportunity in a room, because almost without effort it draws the eye and anchors the space. Because of this inherent property, I like to keep the fireplaces fairly simple. So for me, this is the perfect opportunity to interject a modern element. Here are some thoughts about Modern Fireplaces:
  • Think carefully about the material you decide to use. You can see in the fireplace above i used brushed stainless steel, but because of the softness around it in the upholstery, carpet etc, it actually looks very warm. So when deciding on material, be aware of its context, even the most industrial materials can show a softer side if handled correctly.
  • When doing a modern fireplace, scale is crucial, you may want to make a mock-up first, to avoid a costly mistake.
  • Just because its modern, doesn't mean you can't show the hand of the maker. I prefer modern elements where you can see the craftsman hand, such as elements that include, venetian plaster, or hand worked metal. So while the shape and form are modern, you get the sense it is still within a tradition of craftsmanship. This is an important idea when working the modern against traditional pieces.
  • Some of the best modern feeling fireplaces I have seen, are made with old world material. Elements such as rough hewn stone, or hand worked metal, when massed in a simple way can feel more modern than some things made from steel or concrete. So do not feel limited by materials, seek your inspiration from the context of the room.
  • Have a fireplace already and want to make it feel more modern? How about a sandblasted glass firescreen, or paint the mantle a vibrant color (lime green would do it), or even as something as simple as chrome fireplace accessories would do the trick.

..... and don't forget the bear rug :)


The Peak of Chic said...

Although I wouldn't consider myself a modernist, I do like modern fireplaces. Robert Rufino has a great modern fireplace in his Manhattan apt.; pics are on New York Social Diary.

Fairfax said...

I like the fireplace a little higher like in the photo... It's at eye level and more a part of the room.

John said...

I like this idea

Maryse said...

I think the mantel could be a bit beefier.