Focus is the original inventor of the suspended fireplace. Established in Viols le Fort, France, by master craftsman Dominique Imbert, the brand has been associated with design innovation and an uncompromising approach to craftsmanship since its inception.
Focus has grown from a small artist’s studio to an international business now producing a range of over 60 original models. Committed to local manufacturing and resolutely modernist in terms of aesthetic, each new Focus creation challenges the conventions of fireplace design.
Since the unveiling of the Gyrofocus in 1968 these sculptural masterpieces have been enthusiastically embraced by the design and architectural worlds, with architects Norman Foster, Isay Weinfeld and the Snohetta collective among the many design leaders to include a Focus fireplace in their work.
A DESIGN ICON
The Gyrofocus continues to symbolise aesthetic excellence. It has been seen everywhere from the Guggenheim New York to Stockholm’s Museum of Modern Art, a wild deer observation hut in Norway and the Cloudy Bay winery in New Zealand.
Its effortless harmony with various interior styles the world over continues to cement its place as the most iconic of all fireplaces. Over the past 45 years, GyroFocus has amassed an impressive collection of prizes, medals and other distinctions not the least of which being the World’s Most Beautiful Object collected at the Pulchra Design Award (Italy) in 2009.
A true alien when it first landed lifting fire into the air, Gyrofocus is now in its fifth decade of continuous production. Despite changes in fashion and taste it remains as iconic today as it was in 1968.
Dominique Imbert worked as a kitchen hand in London, an explorer in Alaska and a Doctor of Sociology at La Sorbonne in Paris before discovering his calling as a design practitioner, although he is still unsure of his title.
“Am I a designer?” he asks. “I haven’t been to art school, I haven’t studied architecture, I’ve never taken a single drawing lesson, I haven’t studied painting, sculpture, fine arts or art history. I haven’t done any of these things.”
Despite his reservations and innate humbleness, Imbert’s contribution to the design world has been phenomenal. When he launched Focus in the 1960s, he could not have dreamed that his firm would win the French National Prize for Creation or his work would be exhibited in contemporary art museums.
His quest for a wood heater that provided aesthetic pleasure as well as physical effectiveness has resulted in a revolution in fireplace design that continues to make waves.