One style of contemporary fire pit that has become very popular in recent years is the fire vessel. These incorporate the fire into a bowl, trough, or other container and can create a look that is both spectacular and distinctly modern.
Using vessels to contain fire pits is a versatile and safe method to add the drama and ambiance of open fire to an outdoor space. The fire is completely contained in what is essentially a free-standing piece of sculpture. The vessels themselves may take on a wide variety of shapes: from more typical bowls to taller cyllinders, rectilinear troughs, pillars and slabs. Because vessel fire pits can often be purchased complete, this means that installation is usually as simple as placing the fire pit and connecting the fuel source.
Vessel-style fire pits are not constrained by the typical parameters of in-ground or campfire styles. Because they are self-contained, these fire pits can be placed virtually anywhere, as long as you can provide a fuel source and the proper clearances to combustibles. They can be elevated to create grand torch-like effects around pools and water features, they can be set at table height, and of course, this means that they can be placed safely out of the reach of toddlers and pets. From a design perspective, this means that fire pits do not simply have to be confined solely to being central conversation hubs, they can be used wherever a dramatic accent piece is desired.
Though the design possibilities are wide, fire pit vessels do have some simple practical constraints. Vessels should be fire and weather resistant and, like planters, should have good drainage. Materials like concrete, stone and Corten steel make excellent outdoor fire pits. Depending on the type of burner you choose (natural gas, propane, or ethanol), there may be some requirement for air intake in the base of the vessel. Most importantly, though, the fire pit vessel should look incredible!
Vessel fire pits truly expand the fire pit genre and offer great options for landscape and outdoor room design. Self-contained, versatile, and easy to install, vessels elevate campfires into the realm of sculpture.