Christmas at Home: 8 Stunning Contemporary Fireplaces Around the World

Gabrielle Golenda Gabrielle Golenda

Most end-of-year holiday celebrations in the Northern Hemisphere tend to take place around, or at least nearby, a fireplace. In the grand tradition of Christmas, where as the story goes, Santa shimmies down chimneys to deliver presents to children worldwide on Christmas Eve. The fireplace is the central totem of Christmas gatherings — a place for stockings, special meals, gift giving, Christmas trees, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, holly and of course, Santa’s milk and cookies.

While those traditions have not diminished over the years, fireplaces themselves have transformed beyond recognition, with some striking modern hearths and flues now forming the centerpiece of many contemporary residences. In anticipation of Christmas this weekend, we offer you this collection of modern fireplaces around the world. Take a look at these cozy crackling fireplaces as you prepare for a feast, gift exchange, party or whatever other festive happenings you may choose to partake in.

Four-cornered villa by Avanto Architects Ltd, Vaskivesi, Finland

Situated on a horse-shoe-shaped island, this cross-shaped villa luxuriously provides four very different view points of the surrounding Nordic landscape. The structure itself is carbon neutral, heated by a tall obsidian fireplace and a silvery wooden furnace. This getaway tucked far away from hectic city life has maximum comfort with minimal impact to the cultivated site.

Desert Courtyard House by Wendell Burnette Architects, Scottsdale, Ariz., United States

Designed as a continuous sequence of outdoor and indoor spaces, this home forged around a central courtyard plan features an outdoor fireplace complemented by stone patios and an elongated pool. Via granite outcroppings and towering cacti, views of the desert scenery were carefully constructed from selected materials that are incorporated into the residence.

Chalet Berranger by Noe Duchaufour Lawrence, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France

This alpine ski lodge in the French Alps features a trunk-like hearth, sinuous walls clad in fir, and a floating bed. Constructed from means atypical to a traditional chalet, the interior of this family home is centered around a chunky fireplace anchored in the living room, located beneath the sloping timber eaves of the three-story domestic landscape.

House K by Yoshichika Takagi, Sapporo, Japan

Constructed as a project with interweaving spaces between inside and outside, the wooden-clad exterior houses an interior divided by a series of wooden structures with pitched roofs — platforms and mezzanines on top of the house-shaped rooms — arranged around a central kitchen. Given the cold climate in Hokkaido, the open yet closed spaces surrounded by a sea of white and natural wood are heated by a floor-to-ceiling, matte-black fireplace.

Fonte Boa House by João Mendes Ribeiro Arquitecto, Lda, Coimbra, Portugal

Propped up by a concrete wine cellar, this tall white residence is leveled accurately on a gently sloping plain in the Fonte Boa area. Inside, both the upper and lower floors are divided by utility rooms and a wooden staircase. As the central piece of the interior, the statuesque wood-burning stove separates the dining room from a lounge, and the two main bedrooms on the floor above.

Wood Studio House by Dom Arquitectura, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Spain

This energy efficient, single-story home perched atop a Spanish hillside was designed to minimize the impact on the surrounding landscape, while at the same time provide a comfortable refuge for the inhabitants. Inside, the interior framework constructed from locally sourced fir wood is seamlessly divided into two living spaces with a log fire at its core.

Refugium of a Forester by Petra Gipp Arkitektur AB, Hallands län, Sweden

Located on a remote location of a hearty forested area, this peaceful retreat creates a low impact on the terrain and blends in with the encircling landscape. Outside, the dark façade blends almost seamlessly with the tree trunks. While inside, guests can enjoy the concrete-enclosed fireplace with picturesque views through picture-frame-like glazed windows.

Two Hulls House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, Nova Scotia, Canada

Amidst a glaciated, coastal landscape with a cool maritime climate, this project consists of two pavilions that float above the shoreline like two ships’ hulls “up on cradles for the winter, forming protected outdoor places both between and under them.” The plan acts as a landscape-viewing instrument, like a pair of binoculars, first looking out to sea. Like a lantern over the water, one of the structures contains a great room with a 24-foot floating totemic hearth.