The Lure of Flame, Anywhere

There’s no disputing the comfort that a warming open fire with glowing logs and smoke curling into the air provides. It’s interesting, then, that fireplaces are very much back in vogue in an age where health and safety concerns and environmental responsibility can create severe limitations.

As we enter the winter season, you might begin to notice more and more flickering fireplaces in interesting spaces. You would have thought that with much so-called ‘red tape’, an open fireplace would be seen as a hazardous and impractical luxury.

Aside from the obvious health and safety aspects of having an open fire in a public space, there’s also the maintenance aspect to consider – from keeping fuel topped up to cleaning out the ashes and having chimneys swept, to protecting surrounding walls, carpets and furnishings from smoke and soot.


Environmental Impacts

In this climate-conscious age, the environmental impact of an open fire must be taken into consideration. Wood smoke contributes pollutants to atmosphere despite the fact wood as a fuel is more environmentally friendly to burn than coal or gas because it’s a renewable energy source.

Wood smoke pollutants include carbon monoxide, fine particulates, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and dioxins among other harmful chemical compounds. These aren’t just harmful to the atmosphere but could also cause a number of respiratory and cardiovascular problems when inhaled.

So, what has reignited the popularity of the fireplace? Innovations in electric flame technology mean it’s now entirely possible to enjoy the comforts of an open fire in any space with far less worrying about practicality, sustainability or health and safety concerns.


Fire without the risk

Dimplex’s Optimyst electric flame installation makes the impossible possible – bringing the comforting flicker of an open fire to spaces without the risks. Optimyst uses established ultrasonic technology to create a realistic 3D flame effect with ultra-fine water mist. As the mist rises up through the logs or coals, light reflects against the airborne droplets creating a convincing illusion of flames and smoke. 

From Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, to high-end hotels and theatre foyers, electric flame technology provides the look and feel of a real fire without any of the drawbacks. London’s Royal Theatre Haymarket is famed for its illustrious interior and when the Royal Receiving Room which is decorated in a Louis XVI style needed a refresh, Optimyst gives the opulent setting the spark it needed without posing any fire risk or soot damage to the building or its interiors.


Optimyst also adds to the drama for theatregoers attending London’s longest running play – Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. Those attending the play at St. Martin’s Theatre will have seen the electric flame installation working as integral part to the production’s stage set.

mouse trap

The warming glow of Optimyst fires can even be applied in situations where heat simply isn’t required. At Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, Optimyst has given visitors an illusion of warmth as part of the Magical Ice Kingdom installation. In this setting, the electric flame created no heat, ensuring the ice sculptures within the attraction didn’t melt. 


Suitable in your own home

It’s not just public spaces where electric flame technology can provide the comfort of a fire with total control over temperature, safety and environmental impact. Optimyst is quick and easy to install at home too. Fans of ITV’s Coronation Street will have previously seen Optimyst adding the ambience as a central feature in Carla’s open-plan apartment.

Electric flame technology is helping homeowners think outside the box. It’s not just lounges and dining rooms where it can enhance the comfort factor – it can be a quirky addition in other spaces including bedrooms and bathrooms where the flickering flames can work as an additional source of relaxation. Typically, bathroom installations see the fireplaces mounted away from water sources and set to burn cold, allowing homeowners to enjoy the comforting aesthetics without having worry about their safety.

outdoor flame

The human fascination with the comforting glow certainly hasn’t reached the point of burnout. While traditional fires may be hazardous, impractical and harmful to the environment, the appreciation for electric flame technology is quickly spreading.