A First for Focus

Focus, the French fireplace designer with over 40 years of international success, has taken First Prize in the famous Pulchra competition in Italy, when it launched its new catalogue with a fuller-than-ever range. The panel of experts, who had to decide among 721 objects, was the first to be convinced by the showpiece Gyrofocus (created in 1968), which then went on to be elected “most beautiful object in the world” by 75,000 enthusiastic web users.

“If Focus fireplaces, which number over 60 different designs today, are equally at home in private dwellings and major design museums, it’s because they have soul,” says Focus founder Dominique Imbert. “We start by developing a line, followed by a concept with a function and then hand the project over to our cutting-edge R&D centre, which works at matching it to real life, in the real market.”

Focus has also been nominated for the Observeur du Design 2010 award, with one of its latest brain waves – the Diagofocus barbecue. This competition organized in France by the APCI (industrial design promotion agency) has been rewarding the best results of collaboration between business and designers for the last 10 years.

Then there is Kinéfocus, which has been nominated by the German Design Council for the prestigious Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany, known as a competition with some of the most stringent selection criteria in its category.

“While our fireplaces often win awards for their looks, we still believe the main thing is for beauty and intelligence to go together,” says Imbert. “This is why we always invest in optimized performance, environmental consideration and fuel diversity.”

Imbert designed his first fireplace in 1967, to heat his sculpture studio in the foothills of the Cévennes. Forty years later, his company has a payroll of 80. There are over 60 models on offer, and Focus sells on average more than 300 units a month internationally. Apart from wood, most Focus fireplaces also run on gas and new designs are being created utilizing plant-based ethanol.