Gone are the days when pits of fire were created to heat up our homes, our food and…ourselves. Now with central heating, global warming and insulation the need for actual fire to heat up the indoors has reduced. Fireplaces have shed their unglamorous past involving soot, smoke and wood chips, to become rather stylish feature elements. They dominate a space, give it an identity and make people stop to take notice.

Another interesting development is the ability to manipulate the fire. Perhaps as human beings we have this perverse fixation with trying to control the elements. Pillaging the earth, channeling the wind and buildings dams (which reduce gushing rivers to trickles) are some of the ways. Another could be placing fire in a box.

Yes, glass encased flames have become quite the trend; with electronic controls, concerned individuals can adjust the amount and colour of the flame, according to mood or requirement. These fireplaces are constantly evolving, and whether they rest quietly in a corner or act as a central focal point depends entirely upon the eccentricity of the homeowner/real estate developer/interested client.

If consistency is to be found, it is in one thing…the general setup; the two parts of the fireplace which are the insert and the surround. The insert will need to be the durable, fire-friendly area where the fire burns without restraint; the surround is the decorative, fire-resistant area with a hefty responsibility; to remain gorgeous under pressure.

The following designs were done for a particularly adventurous client, where the brief was ‘to create something they had never seen before’. Admittedly, the brief was quite brilliant, which led to some interesting results.

So why not add interest to an otherwise drab interior with a fiery piece of art?

It’ll brighten up the room, lighten up the people and look so darn good.

Hina Irfan is an intern architect at Amer Adnan Associates. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in 2012, and has since developed a special interest in landscape architecture and art nouveau interiors.