Custom Fire Feature double caldera “floating flame” Firebowl


It can be really fun working on a custom fire feature with a client who has a strong imagination and can iterate and explain their own ideas.

When I’m doing a custom piece, the more feedback I get, the better. Once I cut the bowl, there’s no going back so I like to refine the idea as much as possible before going out to the studio. Client drawings can be a really great place to start because they give me a much clearer idea of what is desired. But it also helps to hash out ideas in words, whether over the phone or email. In most cases, there will be multiple rounds of talks, drawings and research until everyone is sure that we have the best idea for the project.

The goal of this project was to create a firebowl nested within an outer ring so that it appears to float in air. I am super happy with the way this one turned out! I’m also really impressed with the landscaping around the firebowl— it’s a great space!

Robert initially contacted me via email to ask:

Can you make a special double Caldera Fire Pit (inner bowl and outer bowl). I have an drawing based on your Caldera design I was hoping to share with you.

The Caldera is a design I have since retired, but for reference, it looked like this:


He had seen a fire pit made by nesting two pieces of corrugated culvert and filling the space between them with lava rock. He liked the nested effect but had his own ideas about a different form factor for the piece. We talked on the phone. He sent a photo of the piece that inspired him as well as a rough sketch of his own idea.

Double-Caldera-Firebowl client sketch 1

I wrote back:

I think this would be a cool design. I can’t tell for sure from your drawings whether you’re thinking of having the spokes at the top or bottom of the bowl, but my suggestion would be to put them at the bottom so that you can fill the sides with rock as shown in the photo of your original inspiration. That would give the inner bowl the appearance that is floating, which would be a nice touch.

Robert replied with more drawings and the following feedback:

Super stoked about the fire bowl. I have attached a clearer drawing of the bowl. The drawing shows the inner bowl lowered by an inch. My current thought is the fire bowl is looking sculptural and I think it would be cool to be able to see the spokes. All the other dimensions are for reference only and are not exact; I understand that each bowl is unique.

In a follow up email, he sent three versions of the drawing to look at how the nested bowl would look raised, flush or recessed in the outer ring. We both favored the bowl raised above the outer ring once we’d looked at all three.

Attached please find the progression of the double caldera fire bowl. After looking at it on paper I prefer the 3rd thought; the fire bowl configuration that has the outer bowl cut down a 9″ height exposing the floating inner bowl. I know we agreed on the lowered bowl (2nd thought), but take a look at the 3rd thought and see what you think. I know whatever you do is going to be awesome.


Double-Caldera-Firebowl client sketch 2

With that decision finalized, I created and shipped the firebowl. Soon I had an email from Robert with photos of the custom firebowl installed in his landscape. He wrote:

We finally finished installing the double caldera fire bowl; it looks totally awesome! It has been installed with several sitting rocks around it; super functional. Thank you for putting this all together, we are so pleased. We look forward to the next project!