If the concept of the outdoor living space traveled East from California, so followed the modern-day fire pit. After all, what outdoor accessory epitomizes SoCal cool better than a low-slung, concrete-like table from which perfectly controlled flames spring forth? Just add wine and the roar of the ocean. Of course, the Northeast has long had its own tradition of stoking the flames. Summer on Cape Cod isn’t complete without a bonfire, Whale’s Tale Pale Ale, and marshmallows on sticks.
Resorts have been incorporating fire tables into outdoor décor for some time. That said, Covid-19 rendered residential fire pits ubiquitous; the warmth of the flames allowing pod mates to gather more safely outdoors despite less-than-ideal temps. While there is no shortage of backyard models, sublime, contemporary designs are harder to find. We favor more site specific styles, like Andres Monnier’s hand-chiseled table that doubles as a work of art, Ak47’s circular fire-cum-storage that is a an undisputed focal point, or Focus’ Bubble, a chirpy little ball of fire on wheels.
The spun-steel Bubble, with its smooth matte-black surface and ball-like shape, is at once pleasing and inconspicuous. At 27 and a half inches in diameter, a Bubble imbues an intimate outdoor living space with just enough warmth and a low glow. A dozen of these wood-burning fire pits placed strategically on an expansive patio instantly enlivens a party. Manufactured by Focus’s own factory in France, the Bubble boasts an anticorrosion, weather-resistant finish and two rear caster wheels that make moving it a breeze. $2,800
Prometheo Uno, Andrés Monnier x Treko Concrete
The Prometheo Uno, named for Prometheus, the Titan god of fire in Greek mythology, is as much a work of art as a vessel for the art of flame-making. Artist Andrés Monnier collaborates with Mexican studio Treko Concrete to produce these limited-edition sculptures handcrafted out of local stone. The fire table’s smooth, polished top showcased against the rough, unfinished shell encapsulates Monnier’s vision of man versus nature and ephemeral versus perpetual. Even better, the top reflects dancing flames when lit. About $18,425
Zero Keramik, Ak47 Designs
With its crisp lines, low profile and chalky top, Ak47 Design’s Zero Keramik wood-burning fire pit pairs perfectly with a shou sugi ban house. While the company is based in Italy, the fire pit is the epitome of Japandi style, fusing rustic materials and a minimal silhouette with multifunctionality. Porcelain stoneware tops a powder-coated steel structure that stores logs throughout it. A separate stainless-steel grill kit turns it into the neighborhood’s most stylish barbecue. $15,000
Frontgate’s Bryndle renders the appearance of weatherworn wood in a long-lasting cement-and-fiberglass composite that looks equally at home on Nantucket as it does in Santa Monica. The offset burner not only lends contemporary flavor to the rectilinear yet rugged design, it’s practical, too: The empty expanse lets the Bryndle function as a coffee table. The piece is powered by propane, though does not encompass the tank, and can be converted for natural gas. $1,699
The Sphere takes the basic concept of a metal fire bowl and elevates it, both literally and figuratively, on a marble pedestal. Myface, a Portuguese company specializing in contemporary outdoor furniture and decor, offers this elegantly simple accessory in a custom configuration. Clients can choose an all-black steel bowl or one with a white exterior to nestle within a Nero Marquina or Carrara marble base. $4,885