17 posts from firebowls and fire feature designs for hotels restaurants hospitality

Firebowls Fit for a Castle in the Hamptons

For his La La Land Record Release Party last summer, philanthropist and pop star Sir Ivan Wilzig installed two Great Bowl O' Fire Firebowls flanking the pool of his 13,000 square-foot castle known as the "Playboy mansion of the East." The event has been described as "sexiest party the Hamptons has ever seen" and the single of enjoyed two weeks on the Billboard Top 40 list.

Sir Ivan abandoned a career in banking to performs music the stage names "Peaceman" and "Sir Ivan." Business Insider ran profile of his rather adventurous and interesting life here. has a slideshow of the castle estate and environs that gives a sense of scale and also features a couple photos of the firebowls.

The Youtube video below shows scenes from the party (which certainly does look pretty wild) and interview segments with Sir Ivan discussing his history, music and charitable works. There are numerous shots that include the firebowls burning brightly to light the pool scene.

Great Bowl O Fire firebowls at Wilzig Castle, an estate in Water Mill, NY near Southampton

Fire Features and pool at Wilzig Castle, an estate in Water Mill, NY

Firebowls warm the Stars at Cannes International Film Festival

Last night my firebowls warmed the stars at the Cannes Film Festival. It was a cold, rainy evening for an outdoor seaside party, so I'm sure the firebowls were appreciated.

Calvin Klein purchased SIX Big Bowl O' Zen Sculptural Firebowls for the company's annual Women in Film Party at the Cannes International Film Festival. The five women honored this year were actresses Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, Carey Mulligan, Naomie Harris and director Lynne Ramsay. The party, cohosted by Independent Filmmaker Project’s Joana Vicente and Calvin Klein Collection designer Francisco Costa, was held at L’Ecrin. Vogue has a nice write-up of the party with photos here.

As it turns out, the one drawback to having work at such an exclusive event is that no one photographs the decor when they're surrounded by movie stars and celebrities. The only photo I've found so far is a close up shot that could have been shot anywhere:

Francisco Costa firebowl photo

On the other hand, the photographer was Francisco Costa, and it's not every day that an artist gets their work shot by the Women's Creative Director of the Calvin Klein Collection. Also, working with Benee Meade, the Special Events Manager who made the event happen, was an absolute joy. I really hope I can work with them again… everything came together very quickly rather than the months of planning and committees that are often required for corporate purchases.

Fountain with Font O' Fire Firebowl at Glenn Hotel in Atlanta

Fire Water Feature Glenn Hotel in Atlanta
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The Font O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl is aptly named as it has become the centerpiece of several fountains in top notch hospitality environments. Brian Sweeney created a Japanese inspired fountain for the Glenn Hotel in Downtown Atlanta using my 24" Font O' Fire firepit. The serrated top of the firebowl was added later.

The Glenn is an upscale boutique hotel that prides itself on treating guests like actual guests. This paragraph from their website makes the experience of staying at the Glenn sound pretty wonderful:

Upon entering the hotel, you are greeted with a welcome experience instead of a check-in process, a refreshing libation to delight you and a warm, scented towel to refresh you after your journey. Now imagine that you are offered the services of a Personal Host throughout your stay at our Downtown Atlanta hotel. Your needs are known, they are proactively tended to, and you are treated as if you are staying in the home of your very best friend.

The fountain design presents a nice balance of falling water with still water that reflects the tile and flame. The combination of fire and water elements is handled very nicely.

Photo courtesy Brian Sweeney of Sweeney Gardens

Photo courtesy Brian Sweeney of Sweeney Gardens

Great Bowl O' Fire Firebowls at Waikiki Parc Hotel

Firebowls at Waikiki Parc Hotel

Waikiki Parc Hotel has three Great Bowl O' Fire Firebowls decorating their pool deck facing the ocean. The firebowls are installed in a concrete bed filled with blue glass, which give the illusion they are floating in a pool. Many of my gas fired firebowls use glass inside to cover the burner, but I think the use of glass for landscaping is a really cool idea. It provides a beautiful field of color below the firebowls.

I need to get some larger, print quality images of this installation— If anyone plans to visit the Parc Hotel, please let me know if you can shoot a few photos while you're there!

Great Bowl O' Fire Firebowls at Waikiki Parc Hotel
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poolside Firebowls

hotel fire feature

Waves O' Fire Firebowl at Onyx Nightclub in Columbus, OH

Cafe Onyx firebowl Columbus, OH
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The Waves O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl at Onyx was only one of the club's many outdoor amenities. I never had a chance to visit Onyx before its recent closure, but from all accounts I can find it was quite the operation!

An review of Onyx on Columbus Alive portrays Onyx as a venue with a wide variety of options:

Call it a club, a bar or a restaurant, but none of these descriptions nails the scope of Onyx, part of a 25,000-square-foot Upper Arlington entertainment complex.

An upscale club and lounge open on weekend nights, Onyx shares a spacious patio and heated outdoor bar with Arlington Cafe. Shahriar Kazemi opened Arlington Cafe as a simple neighborhood bar in 1992 and it's since grown to become a hub for sister businesses Cazzie's, Arlington Banquets and, as of last summer, Onyx.

Even on a chilly night, Onyx sometimes opens its sliding doors to a patio dotted with a fountain and outdoor fireplace. Heading outside towards Arlington Cafe reveals pool tables, video games, cushy booths and an arsenal of HD televisions.

The Waves O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl was used in winter months to warm the patio space, while the fountain cooled the air in summer.

One review on Yelp describes the variety of entertainments in some detail:

Many areas inside, four areas have their own bar. One of them is an open courtyard with a fountain, another had a live band and TVs all around, this area also has pool tables and a quiet patio area.  A third had a great dance floor DJs, the forth seemed more for socializing with the couch and table area, the DJs here were not as loud so this would be great for conversations.

I'm glad I was able to get some photos of the Waves O' Fire in use while the nightclub was still in operation.

Waves O' Fire Firebowl at Onyx Columbus, OH
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customers enjoying a firebowl on nightclub patio
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Waves O' Fire Firebowl on patio Onyx nightclub
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Great Bowl O' Fire at Chef Bobo's Fire Grill Restaurant in St. Lucia

Fire grill St. Lucia firebowl
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The first thing you see as you approach Chef Bobo Bergstrom's Fire Grill Restaurant in St. Lucia, West Indies is the Great Bowl O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl he commissioned to extend the fire theme of his restaurant.

It looks fabulous and I put it on a pedestal as a dramatic eye catching road sign alternative. I have a restaurant with torches alongside the water and wanted to continue my trade mark. — Chef Bobo Bergstrom

Fire Grill SteakHouse and Lounge bar's culinary concept is a modern twist on “Food over Fire” with an emphasis on local ingredients combined with classic European techniques. The restaurant focuses on char-grilled beef, meats and seafood as well as slow cooked Texas style bbq prepared in a cast-iron smoker. The Grill also offers extra aged beef prepared to Chef Bobo's secret specifications.

Fire Grill is located in the middle of Rodney Bay Village, opposite Royal St.Lucian Hotel on the Reduit Beach Avenue.

Chef Bobo's Firebowl at Fire Grill
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Font O Fire Firebowl as fountain centerpiece at BluEmber

BluEmber-fire-fountain-Rancho Mirage-firebowl-1
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The plaza fountain at BluEmber Restaurant in Rancho Mirage, CA was one of the first to incorporate my firebowls. A Font O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl is the centerpiece of the multi-level masonry fountain. At night, the fire fountain provides lighting and ambiance, by day it provides a warm gathering place.

BluEmber features award-winning classic California cuisine with a contemporary spin as part of Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa.

BluEmber-fire-fountain-Rancho Mirage-firebowl-2
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BluEmber-fire-fountain-Rancho Mirage-firebowl-3
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Waves O' Fire Firebowl on My Yard Goes Disney

Waves O' Fire Firebowl on My Yard Goes Disney
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Usually the firebowls get to be on TV without me. I ship them to the set and only see the show much later. For the Surf's Up with the Greens episode of My Yard Goes Disney JayTV sent Rich Brauer out to the studio to film me making the firebowl.

For this episode, the HGTV design team creates a tropical theme for a surfing family inspired by Disney's Aulani Resort and Spa on the island of Oahu.Features of the landscape design include a pool and spray fountain, a custom backyard surf shop and tropical stump seating branded with the Hawaiin names for each family member.

The yard they transformed looks just awesome and the firebowl make a number of appearances through the show. The bit where I'm cutting the firebowl is about five minutes from the end of the show.

Hawaiian design Firebowl on My Yard Goes Disney
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Hawaiian firepit My Yard Goes Disney
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Waves O Fire Firebowls at Grand Opening for Seaworld San Antonio's Aquatica Waterpark

Aquatica Waterpark Waves O' Fire Sculptural Firebowl
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Seaworld San Antonio's new Aquatica Waterpark rented two of my Waves O' Fire Firebowls for their VIP Grand Opening. The firebowls are a temproray installation just for the Grand Opening, but there is a strong possibility that I'll be doing some custom stingray themed firebowls for the Aquatica later in the year.

The Waves O' Fire fire features are on display for the public Grand Opening, Saturday, May 19 through May 21st and I'm told there will also be fire dancers and performance of some kind. I hope to get some great photos and video of the event soon. If you're in San Antonio or nearby, stop in for the show!

Paul Carter, who arranged to feature the firebowls for the grand opening sent me the following email about how the firebowls were received:

Again, the Fire Pits are a perfect fit for Seaworld, San Antonio! They look great! They were amazing and the buzz around here is people want them for themselves!! You really do great work! The pits are absolutely amazing and fit very well with the park! When I get out of a apartment and into a house, I will be buying one of these for my backyard!

I'm totally planning a visit to Aquatica on my next trip to Texas because I want to see the Ke-Re Reef, where you can touch and feed Cownose and Southern stingrays— Seriously, how cool is that!

Big Bowl O Zen at Nada Restaurant in Cincinnati

Nada restaurant patio firebowl Click photo to view larger image

On the drive down to SXSW this year we decided to take a few days extra and enjoy the trip, stopping to photograph some of the more awesome Firebowl installations that were (sort of) on the way.

The first stop was Nada, a stylish purveyor of "ingredient driven, contemporary Mexican cuisine." The reviews on Yelp led me to believe the food would be excellent, which proved to be more than true. The pork green chili burrito I had was one of the best Mexican meals I've ever eaten, and the Mexican mac 'n cheese also lived up to the hype. Everything from the ambience, to the service, to the food and drinks was superb.

After we ate, I shot some photos and talked to General Manager Allison K. Shaw and Assistant General Manager Chris Smith. They both expressed how much the restaurant and it's patrons enjoy the 41 inch Big Bowl O' Zen, which is lit every evening during the colder months. They told me that they remove the firebowl during summer to make room for more seating and that everyone on staff fights to be the one to take it home for the season.

I'll definitely have to return during the evening for dinner and some photos of the firebowl litup.

firebowl and wooden benches at Nada resaurant Click photo to view larger image

One of the design touches I really liked was the seating around the Big Bowl O' Zen. The fence-post back rests on the larger benches really appeal to me. I also liked the carved wooden benches that look like they come from the roots of giant trees.

firewood fence for big bowl o zen firebowl at nada restaurant Click photo to view larger image

Firewood for the Big Bowl O' Zen is stacked between urns at the front of the restaurant patio, creating a nice visual effect and defining the space.

big bowl o zen firebowl on patio at Nada restaurant Click photo to view larger image

Heat lamps provide a little extra comfort. Because the restaurant faces a large open plaza, I suspect it gets a bit windy at times.

Nada restaurant patio lights Click photo to view larger image

The Lanterns in the trees were one of my favorite design elements of the patio area. Even though it was a cold day when we visited, the lanterns incandescent filaments added a nice touch of warmth.

Nada restaurant patio Click photo to view larger image

A shot from the plaza showing the front face of the restaurant and the firewood stacks for the Big Bowl O' Zen. The designer did a great job of combining modern architecture with rustic elements.

big bowl o zen firebowl across from Contemporary Arts Center Click photo to view larger image

Looking toward Sixth Street and the corner of the Contemporary Arts Center directly across the street.

Nada restaurant patio lights
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Closeup of the lamp filaments in the trees.

Nada restaurant patio lights
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Looking straight up into the tree lamps at a wintery March sky.

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About John

John T. Unger If my job as an artist is to fill the world with "more things," I feel it is equally important that I reclaim materials from the waste stream to make space for my work. — John T. Unger

I believe creative re-use has the potential to spark new ways of looking at the world… if one thing can be turned into another, what else can we change? Successful recycled art encourages creativity in others— it's alchemical, magical, subversive, and transformative by nature. Read On


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John T. Unger