Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 3/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
WHO: Elena Colombo.
WHAT: Fire features with elemental appeal.
WHEN: "As soon as I walked into Clodagh's studio, I felt our sympathies—our gravitation toward fire, air, earth, and water. She and I must have been Celtic priestesses together in a past life."
Today, Elena Colombo calls herself a fire designer and a sculptor. However, she began her career as a director of TV commercials. Then came 9/11. Production ceased.
"I was at my beach house, wanting to build a bonfire," she recalls. "Trying to dry the wood, I thought, I need a gas bonfire. And others might, too.'" This aha moment sparked the creation of the Colombo Construction Corporation, a concept and fabrication firm specializing in large indoor and outdoor installations.
Her first smart move was to send a rendering of a spun-steel fire bowl to André Balazs—who ordered five, two of them for the pool area of his Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach. Dodd Mitchell commissioned 10 for the poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. New York restaurant Aspen, designed by SL Design, is aglow with her fire bowl and round hood.
"Elena's work taps into the ritual that's part of our lives," says Clodagh, who brought Colombo on board for two hotel projects, Goldeneye in Jamaica and the W Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Colombo's definitely hot.