Thoughtfully-designed furnishings offer a sense of originality and character, stimulating that “buzz” that certain projects attract. Melbourne designers and fabricators, Tait, are garnering international attention for their designer-led model, attracting high-profile projects, where sophisticated leading developers seek to create nuanced and enduring spaces.
Established in 1992 in a small factory in the back streets of Fitzroy by husband and wife Gordon & Susan Tait, the company has since grown to become a highly sought-after and revered brand of crafted furniture, gracing the communal spaces of those discerning developers for whom functional and enduring design is important.
For over 26 years, Tait have developed their niche in the outdoor market, becoming renowned and respected for their beautifully designed yet high-performance products. With Australia home to some of the harshest climate in the world, Tait have responded to these unique challenges over many years of refinement, research, and development.
Setting a high-standard for quality, durability and beautiful design, Tait have developed a reputation for products which outperform European counterparts – and a litany of Sydney and Melbourne’s admired developments, hotels, bars and restaurants showcase the compay’s remarkable work.
Recent projects include Arthur Apartments by Hallmarc at Tyrian Albert Lake, Walmer Apartments in collaboration with Salta, Bates Smart and Taylor Cullity Lethlean – and a collaboration with a host of top creatives on the luxurious Jackalope Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula.
Within Australia, their sensibility and craftsmanship has been exported beyond the borders of Victoria, where it brings its unique qualities to the new Felix Hotel at Sydney Airport and the uber chic Paramount House hotel in Sydney’s creative hub of Surry Hills.
Describing their pieces as “timeless in design, with an ethos that draws its roots from mid-century modernism, functionality is key and pleasing aesthetics must serve as part of that function.” There is a no-frills playfulness about the Tait product that, combined with a sturdy elegance, suggests a quiet sophistication on the part of those developers who “get it”.
And while the timeless quality of the Tait product is apparent in its authenticity, in many cases there is a hint of nostalgia too – which seems to contributes to the romance of the spaces it occupies.
A diverse and talented collective of creative people
An instrumental figure and leading force behind the Australian design and manufacturing industry, Tait’s design philosophy is shaped by a strong manufacturing heritage and collaborative relationships with both emerging and established Australian designers.
The organisation’s collaborative model sees them applying their fabrication experience to realise the vision of some of Australia’s most highly regarded designers; such as Adam Goodrum, Justin Hutchinson, Trent Jansen and Adam Cornish.
“We work with both emerging and established Australian designers. Sometimes we issue a design brief to a range of designers. On other occassions a product comes about from engaging directly with a particular designer.”
“We work closely with the designer in a very hands-on fashion from the start, in order to help realise their vision. This usually involves having the designer visit our factory in the early stages to gain a detailed understanding of our working methods, machinery, craftsmanship and skills. That way they can best understand our capabilities and we can adapt the design to achieve the best possible outcome.”
What developers should be looking for in furnishing projects
“For developers looking to bring the right furnishings to their projects, we believe it comes down to selecting thoughtfully designed, durable, high quality and fit-for-purpose products.
This means really doing your research – you’ll have peace of mind and avoid problems cropping up down the track with poor quality workmanship or ill-considered materials.
All too often we see clients opt for inferior quality products only to replace them in a year or two. This experience is particularly pertinent in the extreme climate of the Australian outdoors. It’s all about the “set and forget” and “low-to-no maintenance” in our opinion.”
As far as design goes, Creative Director, Susan Tait says: “To be honest you shouldn’t even notice good design. Good design is so simple, it blends seamlessly into our lives, pleasing all our senses and improving our quality of living. When you do notice it, you may wonder how we lived without it and why someone didn’t think of it before”.
The company has a strong focus on sustainable production. Most of its product materials are either sustainably sourced or 100% recyclable. Where they cannot re-use materials they are donated to local bodies or used to manufacture other Tait products from waste materials.
“For example our Birdcabin is manufactured from the waste materials of our Kink table, it also provides a home for our native birds. Additionally, we are very proud to operate our business on solar power.”
A small organisation making a big impact
Whilst the company’s carbon footprint might be small, their design footprint is an altogether different story. The Tait influence is quietly apparent in the creative hubs of our cities’ urban renewal, where originality, character and craftsmanship are being championed by the new breed of developer, hotelier, publican and restaurateur, for whom the intrinsic value of their spaces is so much more than a simple commercial equation.