Off the Grid by François Chambard and Frederick McSwain

written by:
June 17, 2013
A recent show at Gallery R’Pure in New York explored the meaning of life ‘off the grid’ for the urban explorer. While Off the Grid is nomadic by nature, a cohesiveness in color, materials, and aesthetics brings together complimentary pieces from two designers. François Chambard and Frederick McSwain designed their respective pieces independently while maintaining an ongoing conversation about the dual notions of ‘off the grid.’ Symbolizing both a method of design and the concept of stepping outside of an organized society, a camping theme provided the basis for their exploration.

Updating the typical ‘great outdoors’ palette of olives, browns, and grays to brightly hued reds and blues is an instant indicator the pieces are more attuned to a city adventurer. A generous use of color-infused anodized steel and aluminum offers a weighty counterbalance to the bright disposition of the items, and gives them a monumental weight. While you’re not likely to carry them along on your next hike, we can easily see these cheerful pieces the highlight of a domestic camp destination in any city.

  • 
  The works popped in front of a textile wall woven of HDPE fire-resistant fabric by artist Elodie Blanchard. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

    The works popped in front of a textile wall woven of HDPE fire-resistant fabric by artist Elodie Blanchard. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

  • 
  Frederick McSwain’s Props upgrades the ubiquitous city milk crate from plastic to steel. Admiring their functionality in day-to-day city life, they were designed to use in multiple configurations. The chairs are a new addition to the Props family and offer a more formal application of the crate form. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

    Frederick McSwain’s Props upgrades the ubiquitous city milk crate from plastic to steel. Admiring their functionality in day-to-day city life, they were designed to use in multiple configurations. The chairs are a new addition to the Props family and offer a more formal application of the crate form. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

  • 
  With nicknames like Red Brain, Flash Gordon, and Dark Hurricane, Francois Chambard’s Craft System Lamps (N˚16 to N˚21)

are lively additions to the line he presented at Wanted Design last year. Variations of basic shapes can take on multiple configurations. For Off the Grid, Chambard created lights that run on kerosene and battery-powered LEDs. Equipped to ward off forest fires, the oil lights contain a layer of water to douse the flame in case of accidents . © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

    With nicknames like Red Brain, Flash Gordon, and Dark Hurricane, Francois Chambard’s Craft System Lamps (N˚16 to N˚21)

are lively additions to the line he presented at Wanted Design last year. Variations of basic shapes can take on multiple configurations. For Off the Grid, Chambard created lights that run on kerosene and battery-powered LEDs. Equipped to ward off forest fires, the oil lights contain a layer of water to douse the flame in case of accidents . © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

  • 
  McSwain’s Cumulus Table carry modern-day hieroglyphics in their diamond-etched tabletops. The surface of the anodized aluminum tables shimmer based on the angle and light. McSwain recessed the legs to give the tables the appearance of ‘vectorized clouds’ floating in space. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

    McSwain’s Cumulus Table carry modern-day hieroglyphics in their diamond-etched tabletops. The surface of the anodized aluminum tables shimmer based on the angle and light. McSwain recessed the legs to give the tables the appearance of ‘vectorized clouds’ floating in space. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

  • 
  A detail of the diamond etching on McSwain’s Cumulus Table. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

    A detail of the diamond etching on McSwain’s Cumulus Table. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

  • 
  The DLX Trunks and Racks
by Chambard are a modern interpretation of the classic travel case and rugged military trunk of yore. The maple wood and anodized aluminum trunks are accented by nylon webbing and the cheeky use of the iconic Master Lock. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

    The DLX Trunks and Racks
by Chambard are a modern interpretation of the classic travel case and rugged military trunk of yore. The maple wood and anodized aluminum trunks are accented by nylon webbing and the cheeky use of the iconic Master Lock. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

  • 
  Quest for Fire compares modern day man’s reliance on electrical and wireless grids to that of cavemen’s with fire in prehistoric times. The pits are made of chrome-plated oil drums that are red-lacquered inside and contain a graphic array of Maglite flashlights. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

    Quest for Fire compares modern day man’s reliance on electrical and wireless grids to that of cavemen’s with fire in prehistoric times. The pits are made of chrome-plated oil drums that are red-lacquered inside and contain a graphic array of Maglite flashlights. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto.

  • 
  The ideal camping tool serves more purpose than one, and the 6BCA Tent by Chambard delivers. A wood and anodized aluminum A-frame draped in parachute material is impressive enough on its own, but inside an LED lit spine transforms it into a giant light fixture. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto

    The ideal camping tool serves more purpose than one, and the 6BCA Tent by Chambard delivers. A wood and anodized aluminum A-frame draped in parachute material is impressive enough on its own, but inside an LED lit spine transforms it into a giant light fixture. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto

  • 
  A detail of Chambard’s 6BCA Tent. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto

    A detail of Chambard’s 6BCA Tent. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto

  • 
  Frederick McSwain and Francois Chambard camped out in the studio. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto

    Frederick McSwain and Francois Chambard camped out in the studio. © Francis Dzikowski/Esto

@current / @total

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...