When Tait, the 25-year-old outdoor furniture brand outgrew its Johnston Street showroom last year, it didn’t move very far.
“Tait was born in Fitzroy and we have never strayed very far, it’s in our DNA,” says its creative director and co-owner, Susan Tait. “We love the rawness, the history and the honesty of the area, and there is a little of that in our work.”
The new flagship on Smith Street, designed by Mark Simpson and Damien Mulvihill of DesignOffice, is only a short walk from Tait’s original home.
Husband and wife team Gordon and Susan Tait established their eponymous brand in the early 1990s. Their sleek contemporary furniture – manufactured in Thornbury – is designed to withstand any weather conditions. Their pieces are simple, smart and often playful (think burnt-orange powder-coated bar carts, and a Pick N’ Mix series featuring table and bench legs in vibrant geometric shapes).
Bringing the outdoors in is a common catchphrase in design. But in the case of a brand making furniture specifically for your garden and outside areas, creating an indoor space that felt like it was outside was pivotal.
DesignOffice’s fit-out references a variety of Australian outdoor living contexts, with lounges and sofas placed on timber decking or grey brick paving. Greenery has been placed strategically throughout the showroom to create dappled light with leafy shadows, and you’ll spot a requisite Australian barbeque in the middle of the store as soon as you enter.
The use of custom joinery and fixtures echos Tait’s craftsmanship and focus on details. And while the timber decks won’t grey off as they would outside, there’s a sense of light and airiness as you move through the various zones of the showroom.
“By stripping the space back to its bare bones, and introducing new windows along Condell Street, we effectively created a simple, raw and light-filled shell,” says Mark Simpson, referring to the showrooms corner-block location. “This then allowed us to introduce a series of carefully curated layers into the showroom.”
The walls have been painted in green, blue and yellow to reflect the Australian landscape – trees, sea and sun.
211 Smith Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9419 7484
Mon to Fri 9.30am–5.30pm