The Fire Company
Form Has Met Function
The Fire Company was established by two friends, Stephane Thomas and Uwe Backes. The company was founded in 2002 to market the EcoSmart Fire concept, which is an innovative and environmentally-friendly style of open fireplace . The Fire Company is an Australian group, but EcoSmart Fire models are now offered in more than 12 countries on three different continents. The Fire Company offers EcoSmart Fires and accessories which are designed to provide heating solutions which enhance comfort, convenience, design and lifestyle.
The inspiration which originally led to EcoSmart Fire's invention was a "spirit burner" like those used in fondue sets and some other culinary applications. Company principals have even been known to describe the EcoSmart Burner system as a "big fondue set".
The EcoSmart Fire story began when Uwe Backes, who would become a principal of the Fire Company, returned from a stay in his native country of Germany . He had brought back a spirit burner, telling his friend Stephane Thomas that he "wanted to do something with it". Stephane concluded right away that a spirit burner could easily make up the core of stylish and eco friendly alternative fuel fireplaces.
The pair teamed up with an industrial designer by the name of Paul Cohen to begin construction of the prototype model which would become the EcoSmart Fire – but not before going through more than 10 painstaking versions of the product just to get a basically functional device that met their design specifications, which include:
- Lifestyle Requirements: The Fire Company was trying to return the open fire to its position as a centerpiece in the home, providing the atmosphere for social interaction which is afforded only by an open flame. However, they wanted the system to be executed in a manner that is applicable to urban lifestyles and time constraints. Last but not least, the product needed to be environmentally benign
- Design Requirements: The system had to offer consumers flexibility and choice – characteristics typically lacking from fixed-location fireplaces, stoves, and even outdoor chimineas.
- Warmth Requirements: The system was designed to make use of a modern, renewable fuel to both efficiently and effectively the room or building in which it is installed.
The EcoSmart Fire significantly improves on other heating methods that use gas, wood electric, or toxic fuels such as kerosene and fuel oil. In a departure from the tradition of fireplaces, these units require no permanent fixtures or fittings such as a flue for ventilation or a fuel connection (such as a permanent natural gas line). As with the 'spirit stove', the Ecosmart Fire is fuelled by methylated spirits, an environmentally friendly, renewable ethanol-based fuel.
With the EcoSmart Fire, The Fire Company met its goal of developing a highly efficient, eco-friendly and aesthetically appealing fireplace which is also a designer 'piece of furniture'. The appliance is now available to architects for use in custom projects, or to homeowners as an already integrated piece of furniture.