Scape: Australian Urban Design Reimagined

Amid the ambitious installations and lavishly furnished stands at DENFAIR this year, appeared a rocky, open clearing. Scattered trees cast dappled light onto smooth stone-like surfaces. Viewing the Scape collection for the first time, visitors milled through the stand at a leisurely pace, experiencing a moment of nature as interpreted by Adam Goodrum and Tait.

“It was really gratifying to see the product to be used as it was intended,” says Susan Tait, Creative Director and co-founder of the Melbourne-based furniture house. “At the moment, there’s a kind of disconnect between humans and our natural environment. With Scape, we aimed to bridge that gap.”

Tait identified a need for a collection to help reshape and reimagine the hard angles of the urban landscape. Looking to harness principles of biophilic design, they approached longtime collaborator and industrial designer, Adam Goodrum, for his “finesse” with organic forms. 

“I think there’s a little bit of whimsy with Scape, having softer shapes,” says Adam. “And it was a conscious decision for it not to have the language of other urban furniture, which is very rigid and linear, and quite controlled. I wanted it to feel more natural.”

With their approachable aesthetic, the modular design not only invites human interaction – as witnessed at the show – but also opens a spatial dialogue with its surroundings.

“The natural round shape gives more rise to more opportunities,” explains Adam. “If you have a bench with a flat face, that informs exactly the angles and arrangements you can get. But once you have round ends, you can add pieces to it any which way you want. It’s unprescribed design which references nature.”

Renowned as metal and wire furniture virtuosos, Scape references the Tait DNA through the inclusion of metal detailing and a tough-as-nails durability for a harsh Australian climate, though the use of concrete is a marked departure from the brand’s earlier collections. 

“Glass reinforced concrete is not something we’d ever worked with before,” says Susan. “It’s quite an innovative material – half the weight of traditional concrete but twice the strength. People loved finding out about GRC at the show, and its possibilities within the urban landscape.” So, while Scape exudes the weighty permanence of boulders, its shell-like construction and engineered material makes the range lighter than it looks.

Happily, the positive response from Tait’s launch has brought forth suggestions and enquiries for the Scape range to be applied within Multi-residential, Health and Education sectors – so keep an eye on a public space near you.

“The decision to launch at DENFAIR is really about ensuring we are engaging with the architecture and design community,” says Susan. “There’s such a high level of specifier there, so it just makes sense.”

And in an era of ceaseless stimulation, most any built environment could benefit from a modular solution which encourages more mindful experiences.

“As our cities become more and more densified, we need these breathing spaces to balance us,” says Susan. “Given the rapid pace of urbanisation, we wanted to create a range that could facilitate everyday moments – eating, socialising, collaborating, or just spending some time alone and seeking respite from the office or a high density living situation.”