er is superfluous. Actually. Makes work and dirt. And is considered to be ecologically latent questionable. But many people dream of it like a silk four-poster bed or a gold-tiled hammam: the fireplace. Since the introduction of central heating, the open fire in the kitchen, salons and bedrooms is no longer a vital source of heat, but a luxury that fuels dreams and makes the senses glow. Just why?
“Our life today is subject to strict time management, people long back to their origins away from the Internet, for calm, contemplation, warmth and security,” explains Stefan Schinharl, a fireplace maker from Dingolfing, the fascination. Schinharl builds fireplaces in private houses all over Europe. Fireplaces provided a warm and cozy atmosphere, especially in contemporary architecture, which is often very straightforward and quite cool.
According to the Federal Environment Agency, there are around eleven million wood stoves in Germany, and this number has been relatively constant for two decades. These include open and closed stoves, stoves and tiled stoves. The design ranges from the grave resin witch style to radical new designs around which an entire house can be thought and built. And the technology? Develops rapidly, especially in energy-sensitive times. In the past, the focus was on the fire as a pure heat source, today many customers want a fireplace as a central design element – or simply want to have a campfire mood in the living room when they come home from the stresses of everyday life.
Gas-powered fire pits are becoming increasingly popular
The Lower Bavarian specialist Schinharl, who prefers to build open fireplaces, has recently observed that the trend is towards gas-operated fireplaces that produce flames within seconds at the push of a button. This design fire is particularly popular in apartments where there is no space for storing wood, or where it would be extremely difficult to transport the wood to the fireplace, such as in the attic.
In these gas fireplaces, the flames are created using realistic logs that burn through nozzles. “With gas fireplaces, it is important that the flame picture looks as realistic as possible,” emphasizes Schinharl. Imitation wooden logs, which are made of clay by hand, hand-painted and ceramic-fired, are particularly suitable for this, so that they appear deceptively real. These gas fireplaces are not to be confused with mostly smaller design fires that burn with bioethanol. “You can do that with smaller fires, but with big fires the whole apartment stinks brutally because they have no trigger,” warns Schinharl.
In earlier centuries, on the other hand, it was normal for the whole house to smell of smoked cat ham in the winter, and the residents' hair to do so. Open fireplaces ensured survival. Those who could afford it, like the inhabitants of castles and monasteries, had tiled stoves built in the cold of central and northern Europe from the Middle Ages, the refined successors of the simple brick fireplaces.