PHOTOS PROVIDED BY: FIREFEATURES.COM WORDS JACKSON FINDS
AN ARTIST’S INSPIRATION CAN SOMETIMES COME FROM THE MOST ELEMENTAL PLACES. FOR AWARD-WINNING DESIGNER, ELENA COLOMBO, SHE LOOKED BACK TO HER CHILDHOOD TO FIND IT.
”I SUPPOSE IT ALL BEGAN WHEN I WAS A KID,” explains Elena Colombo, owner of Colombo Construction Corp in Brooklyn, NY. “I remember my father always say- ing—it’s not a bonfire unless they can see it from space.”
Perhaps while watching those bonfires burn for days as a young kid hanging out with her dad, Elena learned more than the average person about just how a fire should burn. A clas- sically trained sculptor and architectural designer, Colombo spent most of her career in print and television advertising, producing commercials and ad campaigns for such brands as Proctor and Gamble, IBM, Kellogg’s, and Chevy.
Following the tragedy of 9/11, however, Elena found the advertising world in NYC in the midst of what seemed like a yearlong pause. The available work dried up. She needed to regroup and to recharge. And just as when she was a young kid, she found the inspiration she needed within the open flame.
“I am ever inspired by the elemental nature of fire, and the primal need
we have for it” explains Elena. “Fire serves both our need for beauty and our instinct to gather around a warm lighted place; it is a destination wherever it burns.” Elena and her team have been creating just such destinations all around the country, transforming fire into incredible works of art.
Perhaps we can all learn something from Elena—think twice about that uninspired, circular fire pit that makes it’s way into so many outdoor living spaces today.
“If you think about fire features in the way we view swimming pools, it’s actually very similar,” says Elena. “We are using your home’s utilities and exten- ding them to the outside space, effectively increasing the livable square footage of the home.” Just like a pool, fire can bring family and friends together to create memories that will last forever.
Elena’s designs connect landscape and architecture on an intimate, somehow seamless level. Some play tricks on the eye. Some are so stunning you just have to stop and stare. Either way, you are somehow left feeling a bit more connected to family and friends, history, nature, and of course, your inspirations.
RESOURCES Elena Colombo Colombo Construction Corp. 342 Park Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11205 718.399.2233, www.firefeatures.com