Made in the South Awards 2017

Modus Studio

The Outdoors category winner is a portable fire pit-grill combo that can go from football games to backyard barbecues


Modus Studio's Firebox—a portable fire pit-grill combo.

The sleekest grill on the planet was designed at what might be the coolest architecture firm in the South: Four times a year, Modus Studio in Fayetteville, Arkansas, holds an internal design contest for products that go beyond its traditional building portfolio. Last year one of the challenges called for a portable multiple-use fire pit–grill that was both gorgeous and functional. The firm’s metal and woodworking shop prototyped the winning team’s design, which is now hitting tailgates, campsites, and back decks.

Made of stainless steel, the grill is composed of three pieces—fire pit, grate, and lid—that are elegantly shaped for a series of configurations. The lid can serve as a base and protective layer for picnic tables when the fire pit and grate are in grill mode. Remove the grate, and you have a small fire pit. Place the Firebox on the ground or a stone surface with the lid covering half of the grate, and the 18″-by-12″ cover doubles as a skillet. The pieces nestle together for easy transport. Nothing is wasted; the Firebox even comes in a wood crate, the pieces of which are intended for kindling.

The Firebox, says Michael Pope, one of the project’s architects, is a perfect example of “place intersecting with design.” The Fayetteville region has vibrant urban cores,
a raging football scene, and top-notch fish
ing, camping, and hiking. The grill went through a rigorous testing protocol, says Matt Poe, another Firebox collaborator. “If someone wondered, ‘Will it work for pork tenderloins at a Razorbacks game?’ then the only way to find out was to haul it outside
and fire it up.”

>Firebox, $392 from


>Outdoors winner: Modus Studio
>Outdoors runner-up: Ian Balding
>Outdoors runner-up: Tom Beckbe
>Outdoors runner-up: Colter Atelier

See all winners and runners-up