The Kiva fireplace comes from the American southwestern desert region. The name, itself, is actually
derived from the traditional underground meeting places used for religious rituals and spiritual ceremonies
by the Pueblo Indians of the southwest. Pueblo architecture provided the inspi-
ration for this unique fireplace style.
Kiva-Inspired Design above via Bess Jones Interiors
Historically, the Kiva fireplace was constructed of
adobe in the corner
of a room. An inverted cone or bee-
hive shape was the norm, with a distinctive arched firebox opening, such as depicted in the examples at right and directly below.
However, though some are still made of adobe, today's Kiva is steppin' up and out from its traditional construction material, look and location. Modern prefabs faced with plaster or stucco over a metal wire frame, often with a stepped surround . . . . . they come complete with built-in benches, called bancos, for seating . . . and nichos, or recessed shelves above the firebox, for displaying collectibles and other decorative or religious objects.
The Kiva is even coming out of the corner to take center stage, such as in the following example.
Although the traditional beehive shape pictured below continues to be popular . . . . . . .
and deservedly so . . . . .
for both indoor and
outdoor rooms . . . . .
a wide array of exciting variations are being created to update the look, by adding a bit of flair . . . . .
a little bit here . . . . .
. . . . . and a little bit there.
And then there are the avant-garde Kivas . . . those that dare to be dif-
ferent. Those that are not afraid to stand apart from the crowd. Those that step higher and farther than Kivas before them to show what is pos-
sible with a little imagination and creativity!
A significant influence in evolving Kiva fireplace design is the relatively large number of people of
Spanish ancestry living in the American south-
west. Since the Spanish Colonial era, they have had - and continue to have - a profound impact on Kiva design. By modifying the shape of the traditional Kiva in varying degrees and/or adding a splash of color with vibrant ceramic tiles, etc., as pictured below, they have infused it with their own centuries' old rich heritage and culture to make it uniquely
Whether you choose a very traditional Kiva hearth, an avant-garde de-
sign . . . or anything in between . . . . . you'll be getting a piece of history. One that is deeply rooted in a rich and vibrant multi-cultural past.
Please check back often or subscribe to our RSS feed, as we fre- quently add new southwest style fireplace designs to our site.
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