One of the coolest exhibitor booths was also one of the hottest at IBS 2023 (International Builders’ Show)… literally. Travis Industries’ quartet of “fire features” brands – DaVinci Custom Fireplaces, Fireplace Xtrordinair, Lopi and Fire Garden – blazed on at Design & Construction Week in Las Vegas earlier in February with an array of fire pits, fireplaces, torches, stoves and even fire sculptures.
Indeed as its tagline, “The House of Fire,” states, Travis Industries’ IBS booth literally turned up the heat, which very clearly could be felt walking around the booth for a bit. Its solutions, especially the debut of the Fire Garden brand, likely earned some fire emojis from visitors of both IBS and the co-located KBIS (Kitchen & Bath Industry Show) – these days, of course, outdoor living and kitchen spaces are filled with possibilities including technology-controlled features.
The company specializes in what it broadly refers to as fire features, and lately they have been red-hot, explains president and general manager Kurt Rumens.
“We’ve been in the home 45 years with wood-burning stoves, inserts and fireplaces. We moved into pellet-burning appliances, and then we added gas to that,” says Rumens, who is also principal designer of the products. “Since Covid, our side of the business has grown 50%.”
The House of Fire actually is the nickname of Travis Industries’ 11-acre Mukilteo, Wash., facility just north of Seattle. That’s where its unique and luxurious offerings are designed, engineered and constructed among its rapidly growing team of about 600 employees (they are hiring for many positions, Rumens adds).
DaVinci Custom Fireplaces offers a lineup of gas-fueled, linear-style fireplaces that as its name indicates can be custom-designed in single- or double-sided see-through glass, with sizes that are sure to make an impressive visual statement.
Fireplace Xtrordinair is a premier line of more traditional looking gas- and wood-burning fireplaces, along with fireplace inserts, which can go into new or existing fireplaces. The can do contemporary design, and fabricate the fireplaces with use of tools such as on-site forging, Rumens says. Lopi provides wood-, pellet- and gas-burning stoves and inserts.
Fire Garden launched with options that include tempest torches, tempest lanterns, fire pit burners, complete fully assembled modern fire pits and fire “art.” Like the custom technology integration industry, Travis Industries has experienced a boom in business during the past years of the pandemic as homeowners invested more in their outdoor areas.
“We’ve been showing it to builders for about a year but officially launched it here at the show,” Rumens says of Fire Garden, whose outdoor solutions are gas-fueled for the time being. He mentions they were ready to launch at last year’s show in Orlando, but the company was so busy fulfilling thousands of orders it made sense to hold off. “We’ve never seen the demand like the last two-and-a-half years.”
New Fire Garden Brand Is a Standout for Design & Variety
This year, Fire Garden displayed its outdoor wares, including one of the most visually stunning items at IBS & KBIS, a sculpture of various size cubes, each spouting flames. Materials used for burner media in the pits can included different crushed glass (platinum, bronze, cobalt, black), tumbled stones and rock embers.
“We have what I call ‘fire art’ where if you look at that, it’s uniquely different from anything you’ve ever seen before,” Rumens says. “I studies architecture – I’m not an architect, but I love architecture. For example, my wife and I go to Europe and she’s looking at all the paintings and I’m looking at the hinges on a door. Designs are timeless; I look at the proportionality too.”
Rumens notes that he’s had a hand in designing products for four-plus decades now for the company. “Then we have this fabulous engineering and research team to make [designs] three-dimensional, to comply with all the standards,” he adds.
For Fire Garden, rather than a traditional linear-shaped fire feature, Rumens and the team decided to enlist more geometric figures and build vertically for a unique aesthetic in the fireplace/fire pit world.
“We just look at exciting new dimensions to show with fire when it comes to architects and designers,” Rumens says.
Its Stainless Steel Fire Pit Burner won an award at IBS 2023 from building resource platform provider BIMsmith, selected by a group of architects judging products at the show.
Meanwhile, from a systems integration standpoint, it’s not uncommon for extensive home automation projects to tie in fire systems – indoors or outdoors – if they are capable of being controlled within the programming. Everything Travis Industries makes has an electronic ignition on it, Rumens notes, which means it can be turned on/off via switch or an app.
Working with the Wyze app, Rumens says, homeowners can control on/off on up to seven fireplaces. Within the custom industry, he adds that the outdoor Fire Garden solutions launched with smart home compatibility to send the on/off signal for integration, including Control4 support.
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