Fireplace named world's most beautiful object

12504_3_GyroVillevieilleZ.JPG.jpeg I don't normally believe in throwing around superlatives, but this suspended black steel fireplace designed by French company Focus just won the award for World's Most Beautiful Object at the Pulchra design competition in Italy. Pulchra calls itself "the first beauty contest devoted exclusively to objects." Other candidates included a Philips TV, a Sony Ericsson phone, and a diamond. World's most beautiful object... officially


  1. Cool? You bet! Spiffing even.

    But beautiful? Um. Maybe. But I’ve seen dresses that were more beautiful to my eye (and I’m NOT a big fan of dresses).

  2. Maybe it’s the picture, but it looks ugly to me. Useful, sure, but damned ugly. Like a squashed Pac-Man with third-degree burns, suspended upside down from his distended esophagus.

  3. While I like the shape, design and overall sexiness of the fireplace. I think there are few spaces that this object could actually compliment in shape and aesthetic. Perhaps a cozy Alien Cabin tucked in the Northwoods?

  4. It’s unusual, but it’s not even the most attractive object in the room – the wood and stone arch takes that prize.

  5. It may just be my developing parental cortex talking, but that looks like a bad thing to have in your home if you ever have toddlers visiting.

    1. I’ll second that.

      Klutz is practically my middle name. If there’s a way to get hurt by that thing, I can find it faster than it takes to think about finding it.

  6. Personally I feel that functionality is a major part of beauty. A lot of rather spare designs (like this one) possess a stark beauty that I find rather appealing.

    By that standard, I would say that that this fireplace is beautiful, and the Pulchra web site is hideous.

  7. It’s beauty is like a flower or a tree. No part of the fireplace is functionless. It does not need a base and so there is no base. It does not need brick or stone and so there is no brick or stone. It does not require corners or mantel or any other gee-gaws that most fireplaces have. Further, it does not detract from its surroundings or demand anything from its surroundings. It is the essence of a fireplace and it is functional and so it is beautiful just as a flower is nothing but flower and so is beautiful.
    You don’t need to like the rose to say that the rose is beautiful.

  8. The really, really sad thing is that, judging by the stone around the window and the exposed wooden beams, that this is a very old stone house (perhaps even a barn).

    It’s a pretty good shot that they ripped out a massive, and gorgeous, stone fireplace to install that trainwreck, when the original was more than likely far more beautiful.

  9. Wait.. you mean THAT fireplace? My grandfather’s fireplace kicks the ASS off of that War Of the Worlds bullshit.

  10. I think it is wonderful and a stunning and amazing design for a space heater.

    If I had one, I gloat over it often. I’d also call it “Kermit” :)

    It is great, never mind the misplaced accolades.

    (now… what did I do with those accolades?)

  11. I thought Barack Obama won World’s Most Beautiful Object! *rimshot*

    But seriously this is silly on the part of Pulchra. Eye of the beholder and all that.

  12. The curves/lines on that don’t say beauty to me, it frankly looks kind of ugly and awkward and evil :P

  13. It certainly looks pretty, but does it heat well? It looks to me that it produces a little of direct heat, some indirect heat when the metal gets hot, but that’ll probably dissipate when the fire burns out.

    From all I know this thing burns wood like crazy but the heat goes right out the chimney.

  14. “and the Pulchra web site is hideous”
    Also, how can people vote based on photos of the object? It could be complete crap in reality. Which makes it ugly crap.

  15. The linked article says “pulchra in Latin means ‘the most beautiful’”. Noooooo: Pulchra in Latin means ‘beautiful’. Pulcherrima is most beautiful. (Assuming singular feminine nominative.)

    1. I was just about to say the same thing. Simple Latin 101 being butchered by an organization with obvious elementary definitions of “beautiful.”

  16. I’ve watched the Taj Mahal gradually coalesce from the pre-dawn mist, and no, this isn’t as beautiful as that, sorry.

  17. Very cool design that fits nicely together with many other beautiful smooth objects made in the 1960s.

  18. I bet it’s less beautiful when you’re trying to shovel the ashes out and not get them on your living room floor.

  19. I’m thinking it must be pretty heavy in order to be both fireproof/heat conductive and durable, and its most weakest structural point must be the point at which it connects to the ceiling. Therefore, if you accidentally bump into it regularly (during warmer months when it isn’t being used), or if you have kids who do, you’re going to weaken the connection over time.

    Wouldn’t be a fun thing to have collapse — especially if it contained burning wood and a flume full of smoke.

  20. Maybe, if by “the world” they mean “that room”.

    And even then, the rugs look more appealing to me.

  21. I saw one of these of in the 70’s in the mountains of Colorado. So its really “worlds most beautiful 70’s redone objects”. Not terribly original nor beautiful (but kinda cool I suppose.)

  22. Personally, I think the thing is gorgeous! Look a little more closely. The hearth is built in (There’s a carpet where it normally would be). Absolutely beautiful construction. I’d put one in my house, if I could afford it, and had the room.

  23. It looks like a gigantic, long-necked, alien coming in through the ceiling with a mouth full of fire. I’m afraid.


    “Created in 1968 by Dominique Imbert, this fireplace was revolutionary both in form and technical innovation. It was the first in the Focus range of suspended, 360° pivoting fireplaces. The biggest advantage of the Gyrofocus is that it doesn’t take much place. Thanks to compact, exclusive and unusual design this fireplace can decorate even small rooms. It can also accentuate the drama of double and triple-height spaces, as well as creating that St. Moritz atmosphere, all fur bikinis and fondue.”

  25. I like it!

    @hallpass, if you have friends with toddlers visit, you
    just gotta say “Manage your young kids, please. That there fireplace will give ’em a nasty bump on the head!”

  26. Sorry, but that is one ugly and impractical fireplace.

    It also must be a very inefficient heater as it has no external air intake and has to draw the warm air out of the room.

    Search Google Images for “beautiful fireplace” and you’ll see hundreds of modern and traditional fireplaces that top this monstrosity hands down.

  27. That is a fireplace that will be broken within two years by some careless dinner guest who ignores the sign and sits on the fireplace anyway.

  28. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that…but to me it looks like someone covered a clam in Think Geek’s black Smart Mass and let it drip from the ceiling, then froze it there.

  29. “Further, it does not detract from its surroundings or demand anything from its surroundings”

    I disagree, I think it demands formality, sparseness, and modernism. That particular interior needs a stone fireplace.

    “but Beyonce should have won for most beautiful object!”

    I agree with the obvious here, Beyonce IS beautiful, but need I say the objectification is, er, objectionable?

  30. Wow… at least it beat out the coffee maker (which is only the most beautiful thing at 7am in the morning). Okay, I don’t hate the Fireplace, I just think it would look better in the right place. This photo makes it look stupid and out of proportion (it’s too far to the ceiling). As someone said earlier in a cabin it be great. It would radiate heat nicely and be both attractive and functional. You can even clean under it.

  31. In case anyone is interested, is the North American distributor for Focus France.

    We’ve never encountered anyone with a dinner guest silly enough to sit on one, but any contractor worth his salt installs this unit on a support frame strong enough to handle far more weight than the 214 lb fireplace itself.

  32. Beauty, meet beholder. No, that other guy. Not me.

    To me, this fireplace looks like an evil carnivorous PacMan flower from outer space.

  33. most beautiful object of time?
    I hardly think so, will its appeal stand the test of time, its too contempory and too imposing with the rest of the room which is older wooden beams and aged carpet

  34. Hello, just passing by your website and found the picture of the
    Gyrofocus cheminee.
    The picture was taken in our home which is a renovated farmhouse
    of 18th century.
    The cheminee was installed 18 years ago and is still working very well. Contrary what I could read in the messages above.
    We still love it and it keeps us warm.

    Greetings from south of France
    H Klein

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