Recently, more designers are incorporating a high degree of functionality into their work, and I don't just mean that with regard to the usual expectations of the typical task chair or work table, but also concerning the very infrastructure of a building or residence. Thus, we've benefited of late from a new breed of aesthetically compelling heat delivery. Stand alone or wall-mounted radiators like Karim Rashid's Kwart, EcoRad's Refurbished Radiators, and Jaga Low's H2o each involve new and improved incarnations of time-tested technology.
The latest contender to this new breed of appliance is I-Radium's series of Infrared heaters: "Thanks to infrared technology applied to wood, I-Radium converts what used to be a fuel material into a unique heating object."
That last allusion concerns the reliable if environmentally-precarious method of wood burning, which is fast becoming too pollutive for urban environments. I-Radium harnesses the beloved texture and warm aesthetic of wood as a laminate material for their series of infrared heaters. This method has several advantages over wood burning, not to mention forced air: it's quiet, environmentally sustainable (efficiencies of fuel converted into heat are estimated at about 86%), and aesthetically compelling, but perhaps its best quality is its enhanced sensory effect—infrared heat imparts a pleasant bodily sensation that other methods cannot duplicate. The technology is similar to that of LG's Induction Cooktop. Rather than directly heating a central element, I-Radium works by sending out an electromagnetic wave that finds and warms the coolest object in the room, which, in the mid-January drear, is more than likely to be you. The result is an instantaneous sensation of warmth. Only once you are adequately heated do the infrared rays begin to store heat in surrounding objects and the air.
Morphosis. Designed by I-Radium.
Gigi by I-Radium.
I-Radium has harnessed this technology in a multitude of intriguing forms. The versatility of the delivery system-and the unbridled potential of wood-have given rise to both "Morphosis," a modular, wall mounted design that could pass for some modest African Art); and "Gigi," a whimsical stand-alone model with the silhouette of a squat stick figure. Both models are available in oakwood, ebony, wenge, oak gray, and oak black.