Form & Function: The Architectural Distinction Of The Fireplace Within The Interior

Interior Form & Function:  The Fireplace
Interior Form & Function: The Fireplace

The form and function of the fireplace endures to appeal within our interior spaces. Considered one of the most “historically enduring and desirable elements” of the home, the distinctive addition of a fireplace goes far in creating a focal point. The visual appeal and warm ambiance of the hearth and mantle of this architectural element of purpose is a trend that will never fade from the designs of builders and interior designers. Alas, whether an ornate vintage fireplace or a simplistic design, the beauty and elegance of a fireplace lends style with a glowing appeal. Divine in the depths of Winter and a decorative focal point during any season. A fireplace is not only architectural structure designed to contain a fire for heating but also for the assets of generating relaxing ambiance within our interior spaces. Form and function. Of course, a brief appreciation of this architectural structure’s past…

The fascination and importance of fire transcends back to the beginning of time. The original source of light, heat and food was considered a basic element of life to the ancient Greeks and ancient Romans. In fact, related to the ancient Greek goddess Heista, ancient Rome’s goddess “Vesta” was the goddess of the flame, hearth and domestic life. Who knew? The Latin word for “hearth” is “focus” which in English is used to refer to “a center or activity of interest”. The term “Hearth” in historic and modern usage, is a “brick or stone lined fireplace, with or without an oven, used for heating and originally also used for cooking food”. The terms “hearth and home” and “keep the home fires burning” are certainly linked to the flames of delight within the interior. Alas, it is the containment of the fire that would develop over the centuries. As the fireplace has been a central and integral part of a home and the interior for centuries the evolution of this interior element would continue to progress. In 1529 Europe the structure of the fireplace and its chimney evolved into not only a structural element within a home but with furthered decorative appeal with intricately patterned brick chimneys and ornate fireplaces. It was during the 16th & 18th century that key developments would heighten the flame of interior appeal. In fact, during the 16th century, plaster artisans would embark upon the molding of fireplaces and the embellishment with fireplace mantles. Design married with function and the beginning of an enduring trade, for certain. Additional improvements were in 1678, when England’s Prince Rupert, nephew of Charles I, raised the grate of the fireplace which improved the airflow and venting system. Following Rupert, in 1715 France’s Cardinal Polignac improved the mechanical arrangements of the fireplace. In 1745 one of the founding fathers of American, Benjamin Franklin, using the combined improvements of both Prince Rupert and Cardinal de Polignac, developed a convection chamber that improved the efficiency and airflow, introduced as the “Pennsylvanian”. The designs combined created the foundation for the modern fireplace, indeed…

England's Prince Rupert, France's Cardinal Polignac & America's Benajamin Franklin
England’s Prince Rupert, France’s Cardinal Polignac & America’s Benajamin Franklin

For certain the design of fireplaces evolved from one of necessity to one of visual interest within the interior world. Beyond warmth on cold days, the fireplace had become a focal point within the home that dwellers would gather around. The “Hearth” beckoned, indeed. By the 1800’s most fireplaces were said to have consisted of two parts: the surround and the insert. The mantlepiece and the side supports were usually plaster, carved wood, marble, granite or brick. The insert, which is where the fire burned, was typically cast iron backed with decorative tiles. Alas, the Victorian era would certainly embrace the fireplace and the embellishments and decorative tools and screens that were required to utilize it. Seen as a constant in architecture, fireplaces are a feature within the world of the interior. The designs and styles reflected throughout the ages continue to prove not only warmth and comfort but decorative distinctive appeal and focal point

Aesthetic Appeal:  The Sculptural Form Of The Fireplace
Aesthetic Appeal: The Sculptural Form Of The Fireplace
Interior Appeal:  The Decoration Of The Fireplace Within The Interior
Interior Appeal: The Decoration Of The Fireplace Within The Interior
Elegance Paired With Usefulness:  The Architectural Appeal Of The Fireplace
Elegance Paired With Usefulness: The Architectural Appeal Of The Fireplace
A Timeless Warming Trend Within The Interior:  The Fireplace
A Timeless Warming Trend Within The Interior: The Fireplace
Distinctive Appeal Of Form & Function Within The Interior: The Fireplace
Distinctive Appeal Of Form & Function Within The Interior: The Fireplace
Modern Style With A Glowing Appeal:  The Fireplace
Modern Style With A Glowing Appeal: The Fireplace
Elegance & Architectural Focal Point:  The Fireplace
Elegance & Architectural Focal Point: The Fireplace
The Enduring Fireplace Within The Interior
The Enduring Fireplace Within The Interior
Timeless Architectural Feature Of Form & Function:   The Grand Fireplace
Timeless Architectural Feature Of Form & Function: The Grand Fireplace

Consider the glory of the fireplace. The mere line and shape of the fireplace form a compelling display within the interior. Whether found with wood carvings, plaster or marble, whether an existing period piece, a salvaged piece of historical architecture, a classic brick surround or a modern variation of simplistic style, the focal point within the interior of the fireplace will endure to appeal. Timeless. The glow of the embers are certain to bring with it an inward warmth. Function and aesthetic appeal. Perhaps there is no sound that brings more comfort, relaxation and warmth than the roar of the fire and the glow of its burning embers. Enchanting. And of the mantle shelf? Oh, the decoration of the mantle! Awaiting a rotating seasonal or decorative display of our personal embellishments, for certain. Consider with appreciation this element of focal point. Form and function with architectural distinction within the interior, indeed…

Kristin


“To fireside happiness, to hours of ease blest with that charm, the certainty to please”
-Samuel Rogers (English Poet, 1763-1855)

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