Michell Tabet. Photo: Dean Sewell / Oculi

20 February 2014 — Michelle Tabet has moved on from her senior strategic designer role at Arup to head up Right Angle Studio’s push into the urban development consultancy space.

In her new role as director of innovation, Tabet will work with developers on ideas to enhance inner city spaces and living.

“We’re playing a cornerstone role and relaunching the concept of ‘placemaking’ into something that takes the hard infrastructure – buildings, streets, shops – and the soft infrastructure – partners, activations, programming – into consideration in order to create a place,” Tabet told The Fifth Estate.

The potential, she says, is to bridge a gap between siloed industries – “those who deliver the buildings and those who actually add value by creating urban culture”.

Tabet says Right Angle has an advantage over many competitors in the space with its Thousands publishing arm strongly connected to a young urban audience, giving the company unique insights into what people want from places and how they interact with them.

“In that way, I suppose we evolve faster and are more on trend,” she says.

The consultancy is designed to partner with developers in the early concept phase of a project, such as during bidding to secure land.

“We are involved right from the outset and can inform the delivery of the project working from some solid strategic thinking and an understanding of how people will connect emotionally with a place,” Tabet says.

“Our mission statement is to understand and improve the lives of people in cities.”

Getting all the stakeholders together in the early stages is crucial for good development outcomes, Tabet says, though there is still a disconnect in the built environment sector.

“For the moment, the built environment industry is still quite siloed in the sense that the teams that will engage a landscape architect may be disconnected from the team charged with promoting or marketing a place.

“We really want to work with good urban designers and landscape architects to bridge that gap and ensure that the thinking is as integrated as possible, as early as possible. So far, we’ve got a great collaboration going with Aspect Studios with whom we worked on the Goods Line project.”