For twenty years Escea has been designing and manufacturing fireplaces, always with the same question in mind,

“How can we make the next one better?”


Burning Ambition

As a kid, some of my best childhood moments were around the living room fire, and ever since I’ve had a passion for fireplaces. I worked as an engineer for fireplaces, a retailer of fireplaces, all working towards my goal of listening, learning, and one day creating my own.

Nigel Bamford, Founder


The 'No Compromise' Gas Fireplace

“After teaming up with Alan McGregor and Garth Milmine to start Escea, we looked at what was already in the market. Gas fireplaces would either look great, or heat your home, but nobody was doing both.  We set out to change that.”

Nigel Bamford, Founder


Ahead of the Game

“It was a year before the first iPhone came out, and being able to do things like control your fireplace with your phone was revolutionary. It was pretty exciting being in the news for something I helped create.”

Dave Olsen, Senior Engineer


When Elements Collide

“We were on a family trip to Taranaki, hiking through Egmont national park with the kids. I noticed the interesting colours of the riverbed when we were crossing a stream, and pocketed some stones. I took them back to Dunedin for sampling, and now we have our most popular coal fuelbed, NZ River Rock.”

Nigel Bamford, Founder


First Danish Interns

“My internship at Escea was amazing. The four of us came from Odense university in Denmark to spend seven months working at Escea during the week, and exploring the South Island during the weekends. We totally paved the way for the next decade of Escea Danish interns!”

Michael Nygard, Danish Engineering Intern


All About Ambience

“People loved our first fire, the IB850, but we soon discovered that not everyone wanted that much heat. So our next fire, the ST900, gave them all the ambience they wanted with less heat, less energy and as a bonus it was silent, which people loved.”

Wynn Owen, Project Manager / Compliance Manager


New Digs

“We were outgrowing our fireplace factory, an old car painting warehouse, and decided to make the leap into a purpose-built building five times larger. Having a blank canvas to implement our new Lean Manufacturing strategy was exciting, and has allowed for us to keep growing.”

Mark Davie, Production Engineering Manager


Chance Discovery

“After a trip to Europe, Nigel was keen for us to make a gas fire that was ultrawide. The problem was the bigger we made our fires, the more heat they made too. Like ridiculous heat. So we came up with vents to duct this heat around the home. We soon realised that we had created something new to the New Zealand market – a multiroom fireplace. Now known as the DX Series.”

Alan McGregor, Production Engineer / Founder


Smart Move

“As iphones and apps became bigger we realised we needed to upgrade our phone remote system. We created the Smartheat app, expecting people to use it to turn their fires on before they got home. But for those that use it the app has pretty much replaced their remote altogether.”

Dave Olsen, Senior Engineer


Architecturally Designed

“We work a lot with architects, and when someone asks us for something we can’t do, Nigel doesn’t like to say no! That’s how the DL Series came about. They wanted flueing that could go up, down and sideways, so we did it – and now it’s on all of our products.”

Richard Miller, Architectural Advisor


High Steaks

“A lot of our interns work on big projects, but Taus Wind-Larsen was lucky enough to lead our first wood fire project – the EW5000 cooking fire. He nailed it and we still cook steak on the prototype he made for our lunchroom.”

Garth Milmine, CFO, Founder and Intern Mentor


More Flame, Less Frame

“The DF700 was our first project after working with Better By Design™, and we let our customer needs guide every step of the process. The result was a fire that was designed by the customer, for the customer.”

Alex Hodge, Lead Designer


Straight to the Source

“We like to send our engineers and designers to homeshows to talk to customers – they won’t close a sale as well as a salesperson, but they come back and feed such insights to the team. These insights led to the DS1400 – a fireplace with no frame and no ducts, exactly what people were asking for.”

Ken Molloy, Former Head of Design & Engineering


The Stoke Difference

“We were looking for a way to give customers a fireplace shopping experience that matched the high-quality products and service we currently provided. This led us to the launch of Stoke Fireplace Studios – individually owned and operated retail stores that showcase Escea products, including exclusive product lines and gives customers an experience like no other in the industry.”

Sarah Hill, Chief Marketing Officer


Grill, Then Chill

“We noticed more and more customers were looking for ways to expand their indoor living spaces and kitchens. So over a glass of red wine and good food, Nigel and a friend were brokering the idea of an outdoor fire experience combined with a high-quality cooking appliance – that’s exactly how the EK Series was born. Soon after, we released the first of its kind – the EP1350 Outdoor Fire Table too.”

Alex Hodge, Lead Designer


Inspired by the Unexpected

“There was a growing niche of discerning customers who wanted a fireplace their friends didn’t have – something unique and unexpected with ‘wow-factor’. That’s where MODE came in – an exclusive range of gas fireplaces that weren’t exactly ‘traditional’. We developed quirky corners, interesting peninsulas, more realistic fuelbeds and extended glass viewing areas that created true statement pieces in rooms.”

Nigel Bamford, Chief Executive Officer


Bigger, Better

“The DS Series was fast becoming our most popular fireplaces. We had just released the DS1650 which was our widest fire at the time, but we thought ‘why not go bigger?’ We’re always pushing boundaries, so a fire at nearly 2m long seemed like the natural next step for us! The DS1900 is now our biggest indoor fire and has already got us thinking ‘what’s next?’ “

Aaron Porter, Design Engineer


Best in Class

“Escea has always been about giving customers the best choice, so to expand our offering we introduced our first electric fireplace range with Ambe. It meant that no matter what our customers were looking for in a fireplace – wood, gas or electric – we had the best solution for them.  We set about designing and sourcing an electric fireplace range that was clean in design, easy to install, and realistic in look, so we could offer the best in class and meet the market with our diverse offering.”

Alex Cleveland, NZ National Sales Manager


Expand to Grow

“After years of planning and talking about growth, we knew it was time to take the next step. Our expanding product range and growing team meant that we needed a larger facility and we needed it now. So, despite the challenges of a global pandemic we expanded our office and factory space by a massive 30%. With state-of-the-art equipment and more and more talented team members joining by the day. We had 125 staff and counting… “

Donna Sherrif, Chief Operating Officer


Fire For Life

“Fire for Life was a no-brainer for us, it very much became a core part of our quest to put a better fireplace in every home. I felt we had a responsibility to use our unique skills and experience to improve the lives of these people who only had an open fire to cook on, and so after several years of development, we finally sent the first batch of stoves to Syria in January of 2021.”

Nigel Bamford, Founder


New Challenges

“Taking what we knew about designing high-performing gas fireplaces, we established a wood fireplace development team and world-class lean manufacturing facility here in Dunedin. We even equipped it with our first robot welding machine. There are new challenges to making wood fireplaces without compromising on the look or performance of the product and Escea wood fireplaces will be no exception.”

James Fisher, Chief Innovation Officer

The Future

 Our journey of fireplace innovation continues.