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Made of silver, black, copper-colored or rusticated metal, these framed works of burning fire are as much like mounted art pieces as they are working fireplaces. Like their classic brick and stone equivalents, they serve as decor but in a much more modern and minimalist way.

In fact, Aktys takes the artistic side of these quite seriously: each piece is numbered by the artist, so buying one is supposed to be like the experience of purchasing a limited-edition art print as opposed to a mass-produced fireplace.

It takes as few as four screws to set these square fireplace units into walls. Bio-ethanol makes them relatively cheap and safe-burning alternatives to the traditional wood-burning types that require real logs and make for genuine fire hazards without protective screens and solid surrounds.

Some are simple rectangular objects, dark backgrounds with light accents. Others are highly complex sculptural works with many little pieces to reflect the firelight and around which the flames wind and curve. They may not be as impressive or heat as well as a full-sized, built-in fireplace, but do work well as a cheap and easy alternative to a cost- and material-intensive hearth.