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Many fireplaces, but only one Cheminées Philippe

Many fireplaces, but only one Cheminées Philippe


In a charming corner of France more than 60 years ago, a creative visionary named Clémentin Philippe sparked a revolution that would change the art of fireplace design as we know it.

For centuries, the French have built a reputation as masters in fireplace creations, from the opulent firesides in the Palace of Versailles to the iconic French Petit Godin wood fire. In 1961, a young Clémentin Philippe would make his own mark on this rich history.

From humble beginnings, Philippe worked tirelessly to create traditional open chimneys by hand using small terracotta bricks and mortar, gradually refining his expertise. Soon he realised that these much-loved open fireplaces lacked the basic ability to sustain a fire and retain its heating capabilities. 

“Even back then my grandfather’s ambition was to create an enchanting fireplace with an efficient means of heating – much more than just a decorative feature in the home,” says Matthieu Philippe, grandson of the late Clémentin.

This shortfall inspired Philippe to not only create a functional showpiece but also a fireplace that helped complete the home.

fireplace Philippe
The Original Cheminées – a signature trademark

Years of research and development followed and in 1981, Philippe would create a world first: the Chéminees Philippe trademark dual-opening fireplace. 

Philippe hand-crafted the original cast iron dual-opening fireplace using a retractable glass door system. When the door was closed, this allowed for unparalleled efficient heating. By gliding the door open, owners could experience the magic of a traditional open fire. 

“He arrived at the final product we know today: the cast-iron fireplace with a glass door,” says Matthieu.

“It’s quite an evolution. If you look back in time, fireplaces were simply masonry open fireplaces with no energy efficiency.” 

Coupled with its unique cast iron fins, Philippe’s fireplaces possessed a powerful heat exchange. Its dual combustion firebox offered radiant and natural convection capabilities. This blend not only allowed for ideal heating, but the iconic, cast iron anatomy of a Philippe firebox is still sought-after among architects and designers today.

“Cast iron stores heat and releases it for a long time, even after the fire has dissipated,” explains Matthieu. “It also allows us to give special shapes to parts, for example, the fins on the gullies. With a distinctive silhouette, Chéminees Philippe fireplaces soon became a revolution.”

Cheminées Philippe
Opening the Pas-de-Calis foundry 

In 1985, Chéminees Philippe established its cast iron foundry in the Pas-de-Calis province. Here, craftspeople intricately handmade each firebox using mouldings and pure, raw cast iron materials.

“Having our own foundry gave us the major advantage of artisan mastery in each of our fireplaces,” says Matthieu. “Our fireplaces are still 100 percent made in our French foundry. We build each of our fireplaces from start to finish, which offers unlimited creative power, opening the door to perpetual innovation.”

Equally important to Philippe were the people behind his creations. 

“My grandfather established a close relationship with each craftsperson. Our aim is to preserve the human values established by him,” says Matthieu.

Acquiring Godin

“The most recent chapter in our story is marked by the acquisition of Godin, one of Europe’s oldest and most respected fireplace producers, established over 200 years ago in the North West of Paris,” adds Matthieu. 

Iron founder Jean Baptiste André Godin was a French industrialist, writer, philanthropist and social innovator. Since 1840, his fireplace creations have been adored for their eclectic and vintage styles. The Godin cast iron wood fires remain a prominent choice for opulent homes and chalets throughout Europe and the world.

The next chapter for Cheminées Philippe

Over time, fireplaces have morphed from a necessity to a luxury. But together with Godin, Cheminées Philippe has ensured this aesthetically pleasing feature remains functional, reduces energy consumption and treads lightly on the earth.

Whether it’s a rustic countryside winery or a high-end residence seeking warmth and provincial flair, the Cheminées Philippe and Godin fireplaces offer timeless options to all settings.

“Now a world-renowned brand, our journey has always been about an obsessive desire to craft an efficient, multi-sensory experience of warmth and fireside enjoyment,” concludes Matthieu.

View the wide range of products on chemphilaust.com.au and inquire via sales@wignells.com.au


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