Where architecture meets the outdoors: In conversation with Tait, SJB and The Plant Society at Fabbrica

Fabbrica is a transformative project reinventing Fitzroy living; responding to the area’s industrial past with residences that adapt to your every evolution and communal spaces that foster connection. Pace recently held a panel with local experts from Tait, SJB and The Plant Society, to discuss the importance of the outdoors when designing modern living spaces.

From furniture and plants to the way a building blends in with its natural surroundings, Susan Tait (Creative Director and Co-founder, Tait), Jason Chongue (Co-founder, The Plant Society) and Beau Fulwood (Director, SJB) share their recommendations for integrating the outdoors within an urban setting.


Tait has crafted and manufactured furniture right here in Melbourne for the last 30 years. With a focus on outdoor designs made to endure Australia’s harsh conditions, the brand begins each collection by considering the ways we live; transcending trends and seasonal swatches.

Considering Fabbrica’s balcony spaces, Tait outlines the importance of versatility and adaptability; highlighting designs that are modular and multipurpose. Advances in material technology mean that fabric-forward pieces like loungers can finally be enjoyed both indoors and out; enhancing and expanding on the ambience of your home.

A lot of the outdoor pieces are also designed to be enjoyed indoors, and can brought inside to extend seating and entertaining capacity… whether you’re creating an outdoor area for dining and entertaining – or just a place to sit and have a glass of wine – we design spaces with your floor plan, position and the way you live in mind.” – Susan Tait.

Tait’s collection provides longevity with flexibility, complementing Fabbrica’s adaptable residences with a nod to Fitzroy’s leafy locale. Considering Australia’s unique environment, former architect and Co-founder of The Plant Society, Jason Chongue, reminds us of the psychological and physiological benefits of bringing the outdoors-in.



While working in architecture, Chongue would often unwind from a long day by gardening – no matter what time it was. Tending to his plants, Chongue recognised that the industry was missing landscape designers and horticulturalists that held a deep understanding of interiors. Co-founding The Plant Society in 2016, Chongue explains that the business began with a yearning for nature. For Chongue, it’s not about striving for a ‘finished home’, but creating a personal, lived-in atmosphere where we can flourish.

Australians are big on nesting, and here in Melbourne, our relationship with indoor plants is up there with the best of them… After working with a much larger population in countries like Japan, we’ve revised our approach to be about making things accessible… If every balcony in Melbourne had just one plant on it, we will have succeeded.” – Jason Chongue.

But, creating an atmosphere isn’t always a matter of fiddle-leaf figs and incredible furnishings: sometimes this concept extends just beyond the front gate.



Beau Fulwood, Director of Architecture at SJB, is a long-standing Pace collaborator. Delivering outcomes which respond to the context and history of a site, Beau explains that the firm’s approach to Fabbrica is informed by the way we live and interact with the suburb.

Fabbrica’s history is one of industry and robust materials… The project is designed to blend in with the existing fabric of the area. So you’ll notice that the façade, from the green tiling to the scalloped concrete, is an homage to the industrial nature of the site.” – Beau Fulwood.

This connected approach continues at Fabbrica’s rooftop, where sprawling landscape design meets multi-faceted communal spaces. From calm, north-facing nooks and work-from-home zones to west-facing sunset views, the rooftop responds to the way we work, connect and switch-off; delivering multi-purpose use to multiple people at any given time. These shared spaces reflect the intricate ways that Fabbrica interacts with its surroundings and adds to Fitzroy’s evolving narrative.

These conversations remind us that architecture and the outdoors aren’t mutually exclusive entities; neither purely process driven or entirely organic, but a complex mixture informed by the ways we live. That perhaps creating spaces where this can constantly evolve and adapt to our lifestyles is the key to longevity of our favourite postcodes.

Interested in joining the Fabbrica community? 
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Fitzroy’s industrious past and inventive future

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