We had been selling Decorative gas fires for many years but we were aware that our sales of these fires were no longer growing as rapidly as in the past and we recognised that consumer demand for heat output and efficiency was becoming an increasingly significant factor.
Around 18 months ago we decided to develop a new range of gas effect fires to supplement our existing Alchemy branded Chesney’s range of decorative gas log and coal fires. We had been selling Decorative gas fires for many years but we were aware that our sales of these fires were no longer growing as rapidly as in the past and we recognised that consumer demand for heat output and efficiency was becoming an increasingly significant factor.
Having said this, many customers are still very happy to purchase a DFE fire. They provide an extremely realistic re-creation of both real coal and log fires but produce a limited level of heat and should only be viewed as a secondary source of heat within any room. As the name suggests,they are primarily intended for visual effect but in many cases this is exactly what the customer requires, where an efficient central heating system already exists and the room would otherwise become overheated..
Our task therefore was to address the growing demand for efficient gas appliances that are economical to run and which generate significant levels of heat and we identified that the best means of achieving this would be to use a convection unit with a sealed glass fascia. Our approach to developing this new range was guided by two principles. Firstly the product had to incorporate the very latest technology delivering levels of performance that at the very least match those of any existing competing products.Secondly, and equally importantly, the new product range had to embody a design aesthetic that would be uniquely distinctive and put it way ahead of the competition.
The challenge we faced in developing this new high efficiency glass fronted range, which we have branded as Chesney’s Alchemy GF range, was how to achieve the realistic look that we wanted given the constraints imposed by the need for a glass fascia and the incorporation of the sophisticated componentry required for a highly efficient convection system.
The first thing that we did was to source a specialist type of non-reflective glass. This glass has the advantage of being virtually invisible and immediately takes the product a large step closer to looking like a real fire. Clearly the logs need to look as lifelike as possible and to achieve this we used the same process as for our DFE fires, vacuum casting and individually hand painting each log. For customers seeking a traditional fireplace we wanted to offer the conventional arrangement of a fire basket with fire dogs. We had to ensure that these wouldn’t rust as a result of the condensation that occurs when a glass fronted fire is first ignited and we overcame this problem by giving both basket and dogs an attractive brushed nickel plated finish. This is a first in the industry as no other manufacturer offers a fire basket and dogs within a sealed glass unit.
We also developed a selection of different interior panel finishes including a hand painted re-creation of an original set of random Cotswold stone panels produced for us by a Somerset based stone mason. Finally,we wanted a totally unique show stopper, quire unlike anything else that is available, and which will, we hope, become indelibly linked with the new Alchemy Glass Fronted range. For this we designed a beautifully elegant elongated urn which was cast in bronze and then hand polished. To get the shape absolutely right we used the services of Aztec Model Makers in South West London. The result is visually stunning and the dancing flame patterns the fire produces are a credit to the mix of engineering and aesthetics that our Research and Development team, based in Yorkshire and headed by Andrew Fayers,bring to every project.
The features I have described make our Alchemy GF range absolutely unique in the market place in terms of its design whilst also delivering outstanding performance levels, with many models achieving levels in excess of 80% efficient in independent testing.
Finally, I am very pleased to note that we have been able to set up production of the entire Alchemy GF range in the UK, guaranteeing the highest standards of quality.