A conversation with Doug Garofalo, AIA 1958 — 2011
What was the inspiration for the Fireorb?
I was in Italy, in one of my favorite houses in the world, and there was a fireplace with the back made out of glass. Through the fireplace you can see the hills and valleys beyond. The impression you have is - fire floating in the landscape. That made me want to design some kind of floating fore for a house I was working on.
What was the resulting design?
The Fireorb is a suspended hearth with a 360˚ rotation field. It's fabricated by spinning steel according to a cad-governed form. I think the slim shape is contemporary and pure in concept but very organic at the same time. It is built to hang simply from the ceiling.
Who are the ideal owners of a Fireorb?
People who care how things look. People who appreciate the leap of imagination. People who want a distinctive, contemporary warmth in their home.How do you use the Fireorb in plan?
The Fireorb can be at the heart of any space - living room, bedroom, den, kitchen, greatroom.
I like that it's a fire people can actually gather around. This kind of fire has deep echoes in the history of human culture. It creates a social space. It lets the fire be central again.
How does Fireorb compare to other fireplaces available?
I'm frustrate by the narrowness of the offerings in the US right now. Basically what you have is a hum-drum metal box that you're supposed to cover with drywall and slap a piece of marble on. Fireorb frees the hearth to float in the room exactly where the architect or design wants it.
A Few facts about our forests, burning wood and our enivironment
- North American forest is abundant and growing
- US forests covers 747 million acres (about 33% of the land base)
- 67% of total area of US forests (495 million acres) is commercial forest, used to produce timber for forest products
- Today, the volume of wood in US forests is about 25% greater than it was 40 years ago.
- We have about the same amount of land covered by trees today as it did 80 years ago
- Each year, there are 1.5 billion trees seedlings planted – that’s more than five new trees for each American
- Forest planting in the US currently averages about 2, 4 million acres per year
- Ship builders in earlier centuries were greater predators on the forest than current timber industries
When people think of a fire on the heart, they think of burning wood. Wood is the traditional fuel. It grows locally, is abundant in most areas and is one of our few renewable sources of energy.
Burning wood also makes great sense from environment standpoint. As concern about global warming and greenhouse gases increases, so does the attraction of using renewable biomass for energy.Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, replenishing the atmosphere.
Most firewood comes from harvesting dead trees. Unlike fossil fuels, there is no net carbon contribution when burning wood, as those same gases are given off when the tree decomposes in nature. Also, wood contains almost no sulfur, the major component of acid rain.
Finally, tending a fire is labor of love, but is does take effort. For those people who cherish the relaxing ambiance of fire, but don’t have the time or inclination to fuss with a wood fire, other choices available.
One familiar way is with manufactured fire logs, which are made with recycled sawdust mixed with wax. They ignite easily and quickly without kindling, burn cleanly and leave little ash.