Elena Colombo is a classically trained sculptor & architectural designer, who creates work that extends architecture further into the landscape by creating forms which address our primal need for the elements earth, fire, water and wind; and that are at once ancient and modern; simple, and elegant. Elena works in bronze, steel, stone, concrete and bone.
Colombo is currently manufacturing a series of interior and exterior fire features; the first of which is the Firebowl, which was nominated as ‘Best Outdoor Product’ by the 2004 Design and Decoration Awards, was the featured center piece in horticulturalist Jamie Durie’s gold medal winning garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show; and has recently been nationally certified by OMNI-TEST Laboratories Inc.
“I am ever inspired by the elemental nature of fire, and the primal need we have for it. Fire serves both our need for beauty and our instinct to gather around a warm lighted place; it is a destination wherever it burns. For nearly 700,000 years we have shared food, stories, and experiences around the fire; during the last hundred, we seem to have abandoned the hearth as the focus of community. I would like to restore the hearth as a ceremonial place and as a point of convergence.”
Among Colombo’s original clients is hotelier Andre Balazs, who commissioned the first Firebowl for the cocktail terrace at Sunset Beach, his Shelter Island hotel, then for the Raleigh and Standard Hotels in Miami Beach. Fire features have also been installed at The Barnes Museum, Philadelphia, PA, The Pebble Beach Golf Resort; St. Regis Park City; Vail Cascade Resort, The Washington DC Hilton; Dallas Ritz Carlton; The Fairmont Ghirardelli Square; The LA Hyatt Century Plaza; Solage Calistoga; The Lodge at Cordillera; Jonathan Adler’s Parker Palm Springs; Marmol Radziner Prefab Prototype house in Desert Springs; the landmark Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood; Paul Hobbs Winery, Sebastopol; Press Restaurant, St. Clement Vineyards, Benzinger Vineyards, Cade Winery, and Alpha Omega Winery in Napa Valley; as well as with notables Larry Ellison, Lisa Marie Presley and Anne Rice.
in 2010, Ms Colombo was selected as winner of a National Endowment for the Arts Placemaking Grant that led to her largest fire feature to date, entitled The Bridge at the center of the Bethlehem Steel Plant revitalization project, SteelStacks. The Bridge is 70 feet long, 25 feet tall, weighs in at 15 tons, and is capped by a 1 million BTU ribbon of flame at it’s crest.
Prior to opening her company, Colombo worked extensively in print and television media as a director of award winning television commercials and print campaigns for Proctor and Gamble, IBM, Kellogg’s, Spalding, Oil of Olay, Chevy, Mattel, Caterpillar, and Nintendo.
After graduating from college, Elena began work at Broadcast Arts in model design and production on the set of Pee Wee’s Playhouse, learning storyboard production, animation, special effects rigging and art direction. She continued working in this design capacity for Woo Art International, MTV and VH1, before launching a 15 year career as a commercial director with Shelter Films in 1992.
Education: Elena graduated from Trinity College, Hartford CT in 1984 with a BA in both fine arts and art history, and a concentration in architectural design, sculpture and etching. While at Trinity, she spent a year abroad in Rome at the Caesar Barbieri Center to study sculpture, painting and the Italian Renaissance. Elena continued her education in the arts at the Museum School in Boston, Mass.
Elena lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, and can be contacted at 212.334.5069.