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Focal Shift Fireplace by Scenario Architecture, London, UK

Scenario’s twisted fireplace shifts the focus of an open-plan layout to help distinguish the seperate functions of the room. Photography by Amy Scaife

As the adage about buses goes, none appear for ages and then two or three come at once. For the AR Awards, this now applies to fireplaces, with this scheme being one of two warm glows to get the jury’s attention. Focal Shift is a subtle yet sophisticated response to the problem that arises when Victorian terraced houses are forced to accommodate open-plan living.

With the activities of cooking, dining and reclining all coexisting, such spaces can often lose any sense of purpose. To remedy this functional dilution, Scenario Architecture redesigned the fireplace to twist towards the seating area. By shifting off axis, the fireplace now focuses on a more intimate snug that also incorporates the bay window.

Seamlessly morphing out of the orthogonal chimney breast, the external plasterwork creates a pleasingly curvaceous form. Inside the fireplace, polished, high-alumina, heat-resistant concrete forms the sculptural hearth.

Architect Scenario Architecture, London, UK
Project team Maya Carni, Ran Ankory

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