A coffee table that holds an electric fireplace is the ultimate winter essential

A fully electric hearth puts a modern spin on an ancient household fixture.

Fire and light have always been at the center of homes, be it a TV or a fireplace. The latter has, of course, become less practical these days, and its absence from many homes has also resulted in a shift in family interaction. “Hearth and home” is a phrase that still carries some meaning today, and a designer is bringing back that long-forgotten home centerpiece by making it not only more practical but also safe as well.

Designer: Maximillian Burton

The fireplace and the kitchen stove once started out as a single and critical part of the house. The hearth provided not only heat but also fire to cook the family’s meal. Because of those life-essential functions, the hearth also became the focal point for families to gather and connect over a warm fire and hearty food.

Those are the practical and social functions that designer Max Burton is seeking to return to modern households with a coffee table appropriately named “Hearth.” At first glance, it looks like a stylish but normal table with a black tabletop and a shuttered base. Even in this dormant state, it already functions as a beautiful centerpiece for people to gather, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Twist that tabletop clockwise like a giant dial, and the slanted fins at the base open up, revealing the electric heater inside. The twisting motion might remind some of a more advanced thermostat, and it almost offers the same capability. Once opened, the Hearth sucks in air from hidden ducts on its underside and then blows heated air out the fins, warming the entire room evenly in all directions.

While its top is reminiscent of a thermostat dial, the Hearth’s tapered and shuttered base is meant to evoke images of rising temperatures and fire. The glow that comes from the heater inside definitely helps that visualization and provides a warm and soft light that feels like an open invitation for families and friends to huddle and connect with each other, just like what people in ancient times did on cold Winter days.