There’s something about a big stack of rocks around a roaring fire that amplifies the visual as well as literal warmth of a room. The inherent heft and organic forms provided by stone hearths, mantles, and chimneys serve to anchor surrounding spaces. The material connects interiors to the natural environment, especially when designers or builders select a local variety or incorporate pieces found on site. It also evokes an atmosphere of times past and wilder places, even when applied in a modern setting.  Stone’s multilayered looks and complex characteristics make it a common choice for creating oversized fireplaces that become focal points in large, airy rooms.

The architects, designers, builders, and stone masons who produced the fireplaces in the accompanying slideshow all took different approaches while still respecting the material’s qualities and the context in which it was being used. Some chose to incorporate behemoth boulders stacked in a seemingly precarious manner to add a touch of whimsy. Others opted for symmetrical pieces in cut and polished presentations as a way to incorporate a rustic material into a sleek design. The types, colors, shapes, sizes, styles, and settings used in this collection vary widely, but one thing they all share is masterful construction. Architects and builders agree that it requires both brute strength and delicate precision to create these stone masterworks.