Fake fires have sure come a long way since the 70s…
Every winter we used to go to our friend’s family cottage in Cornwall which was charmingly graced with one of those (very) vintage electric fires. An enormous, ugly plastic and metal beast that took up most of the miniscule living room
When it got desperately cold we’d switch it on and watch the bars turn an angry, incandescent orange. Fierce heat would emanate, along with a smell I could only assume was burnt dust. You’d feel your skin stretching and drying under that assault, and if looked at it for any length of time, you’d almost be guaranteed a headache.
I loved that cottage and all its vintage quirks, but I certainly wouldn’t buy me one of those. These days, if you’re in the market for an artificial fire, your options look much brighter indeed, and not in a migraine-inducing sort of way.
Glen Dimplex is the world’s largest manufacturer of electrical heating appliances and parent company for some of the industry’s best-known brands in that space including Ability, Burco, Campa, Creda, Dimplex, Faber, NOBO, Redring, Valor and Xpelair.Glen Dimplex is the world's largest manufacturer of electrical heating appliances, and some of its artificial flame tech is being showcased at the Shoreditch Flame Studio Click To Tweet
It also designs, develops and manufactures professionally installed heating and ventilation systems for residential and commercial buildings. This ranges from smart electric heating systems using the latest control and communications technologies, through to heating networks encompassing heat pumps, MVHR systems and a range of heat emitters.
Their ‘Flame Technology’ incorporates the latest electric and gas fire technology and includes:
The Dimplex Opti-myst effect uses unique patented tech which creates a 3D illusion of real smoke and flames as is already proving popular not only among hotels, restaurants and homes, but also in TV and theatre productionsNothing makes for a cosy evening like lighting up that kindling Click To Tweet
Another innovative approach to warming up your surrounding environment with tech is the Dimplex’s Opti-V, which combines real fire footage displayed on a high definition LCD screen with a unique illusory technique to create the effect of flickering flames – complete with smoke and burning embers – definitely better than playing a video of a fireplace on your TV!
“These technologies offer an easy, low maintenance and safe focal point in a room, offering a unique and eye-catching illusion and an alternative for those looking to get the ambience of a fire.”
These are all showcased in London’s Shoreditch Flame Studio which is a collaboration between designers and architects to create exciting, aspirational spaces to suit any individual project.
Hey, why not have a REAL fire, I hear the purists ask? I’m with you.. Nothing makes for a cosy evening like lighting up that kindling… The giddy sense of achievement you get when it catches, the smell of wood smoke, the being wrestled out of the way by three dogs as they park their fat little red bums in front of it for the evening. It’s all magic, and my little woodburning stove is probably my favourite thing about our house.The Dimplex Opti-myst creates a 3D illusion of real smoke and flames Click To Tweet
These technologies offer an easy, low maintenance and safe focal point in a room Click To Tweet
But it a pain to clean, and you end up with most things around the house eventually coated in ashes. Plus there’s a lot of remembering to buy/order kindling, logs, coal, firelighters, etc. and if the atmospheric air pressure is not quite right, the chimney doesn’t draw properly and you end up with rather too much of that delightful woodsmoke smell.
Besides, as I know all too well having been forced to live in houses without fireplaces for way too many winters, it often proves difficult or impossible to have a real fire in your home. So this type of tech could offer a lifeline for those of us who are deprived of that wonderful feeling you only get from watching the flickering flames as your Stafford drowns out the Antiques Roadshow with his happy snoring. Looking at some of these techy fires, I have a feeling they might even fool my Watson.
Alice Bonasio is a VR and Digital Transformation Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.