After growing up in Chicago and earning a degree from the Art Institute of Chicago, Cornelia moved to Manhattan. She then began working in floral and event design with leaders in the field. Legendary event design firm Avi Adler (now also David Stark Design and Production) appointed Cornelia as a primary floral consultant in 1999. There Cornelia relished the experience of working on events noted for their originality and lavishness. In 2003 she founded Cornelia McNamara Flowers.
Her unique vision was recognized when, in 2009, she was one of six people to be interviewed for the position of Chief White House Florist. Her experiences at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue left her inspired to raise the bar for both inventive design and social responsibility in her business.
What began as a floral design studio has now naturally evolved into a full-scale event design studio, with a team of artists working on:
- Original printed materials
- Custom graphic design for invitations, T-shirts, escort cards, including such original projects as newspapers as wedding programs with content tailored to a couple’s history.
- Site specific installations for corporate branding and private social events
- A 75ft floral mobile installation including oversized handmade flowers spinning in rhythm above a dance floor.
- Ambient video art projected onto 7ft branded balloons suspended overhead throughout an event space.
- Environments for experiential marketing
- A Michigan avenue pop-up shop featuring 20 ft. long artistic tapestries and window treatments made entirely of popcorn.
Working in Chicago has allowed the company to expand not only creatively but consciously as well, with an organic micro-farm just outside the city where Cornelia harvests by hand the freshest, most exquisite flowers (with the smallest carbon footprint). She is also a working member of a The Chicago Honey Co-op, an urban bee farm.
Working, lecturing and teaching in the U.S and internationally, her life and work are filled with sharing in the beauty evidenced in nature through designing and producing celebrated events.