Light the fire!
by Martina Metzner | 12/1/2015
Focus - Atelier Dominique Imbert
3, impasse Claque Patin
34380 Viols le Fort
T: 00 33 (0)4 67 55 01 93
F: 00 33 (0)4 67 55 77 77
Dominique Imbert, the creator of Focus, was born in Montpellier in 1940.
After studying literature in London and Paris, he became, "by accident", as he puts it, an ethnologist in Alaska and an assistant chef in Manhattan, before being awarded a Doctorate in Sociology at the Sorbonne and becoming a literature professor in a Paris Lycée.
After teaching for four years, he decided he preferred shaping metal to moulding young minds, and in 1967, he set up a workshop making steel sculptures in the village of Viols-le-Fort in the garrigue north of Montpellier.
It was at this studio that he designed his first fireplace for his own personal use, then repeated the exercise for others who fell in love with what he had created ... and this was how Focus began.
This self-taught sculptor-designer moves easily between his many passions, creating bronze and steel sculptures as well as fireplaces and furniture. The thread that unites all his creations is his insistence on quality, a pursuit shared by the exceptional team that works with him. In order to attain the quality he demands, Focus runs the production and distribution of all their products, and in the face of outsourcing has chosen to support the local production sites of their fireplaces.
For this free-spirited artist, the independence to follow intuition rather than convention or trend is his guiding force: "What interests me is discovering and shaping the poetry and spirit of an object," he says. Yet this artist has also negotiated million dollar contracts in Japan, exports fireplaces to markets from Lithuania to Russia, Slovenia to Israel, and is directly or indirectly responsible for some 80 jobs. When asked to explain his singular philosophy, he simply cites Le Corbusier with an enigmatic smile: "Tradition consists of inventing your epoch ... ".