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Yves St. Hilaire created this unique concrete sculptural fire bowl in West Vancouver, British Columbia. Working with a tight deadline while taking on a uniquely creative project, St. Hilaire, owner of Sticks + Stones Furniture, created this award-winning sculpture with a little help and a lot of determination.
Project Objective + Client Feedback
The designer of the concrete fire bowl, Marcyn Ward of Down to Earth Landscapes, wanted to create an extraordinary sculptural centerpiece for her clients’ contemporary West Coast home. The fire bowl needed to be fabricated and installed in an exterior atrium, wrapped on three sides by windows, in time for a wedding scheduled at the home. “Everyone that was involved with this project was blown away with the results and the clients could not have been happier, especially as it was ready it time for the wedding — just!” says St. Hilaire.
Design + Expertise
Due to the complex nature of the fire bowl design, the project needed a material that could take any form and could be created in the deep and saturated orange-umber color envisioned by the designer. Concrete, a malleable medium that cures into a solid, offered the perfect solution. St. Hilaire is adamant about the material choice: “I truly believe that this fire bowl could only have been created with the same level of success in concrete; no other material would have worked.”
The fabrication challenges in building the fire bowl’s form—sloping multiple curves with a thin edge on one end—pushed St. Hilaire out of his comfort zone. The piece was extremely challenging to create, especially given a tight timeline, and it enabled Sticks + Stones an opportunity to produce something extraordinary. St. Hilaire credits, along with his Sticks + Stones team, 3D Custom Foam, who “did an amazing job creating the negative space for our concrete.”
Because of its unusual shape, St. Hilaire was undecided about how to vibrate the fire bowl mold until the day of the concrete pour. In the end, the piece was placed on a dolly and manually shaken back and forth to remove all of the air bubbles from the mold. The sculpture was then removed from the mold 48 hours after the pour, still steaming and warm to the touch.
The concrete fire bowl installation took place only three weeks after the pour and, with a crew of ten assisting with the delivery and installation, everything went without a hitch and just in time to be a showstopper, second only to the bride of the wedding event held at the home. The judges best summarized the project: “This fire bowl sculpture looks effortless and elegant in its seemingly simple form, yet to accomplish the structural complexity of this shape and scale requires top-level skill and honed craftsmanship….[it is] synonymous with excellence!”
2011 Presidents Award, CHENG Concrete Exchange Design Challenge
Recognized in the industry as the pinnacle of exceptional design and craftsmanship, the CHENG Concrete Exchange Design Challenge showcases talent and technical skill of the very best in creative concrete.
About Sticks + Stones
Sticks and Stones Furniture showcases the strength, elegance and pliability of its materials. With a unique blending of wood and concrete, Sticks + Stones brings modern materials and designs to your living and work spaces.
In addition to custom furniture, Sticks + Stones’ concrete castings can add a signature design feature to every room in your home. From kitchens to bathrooms, fireplaces to countertops, Sticks + Stones caters to those seeking an original touch, a one-of-a-kind piece for their homes. Each concrete casting, from color to texture to sizing, will always be unique. And over time, you can choose to let its living finish show, or keep its original luster. The versatility and organic qualities of concrete are expressed uniquely in each finished installation.