Check out some of our favourite moments from this year’s Decor + Design Melbourne.

This beautiful poster was designed by the wonderful team at Studio Round to commemorate Move-in’s 21st birthday.  

Zahava sits down with The Urban Developer to reflect on 21 years of Move-in. Read the article here.

Breathing easy…

After a turbulent start to the year, it finally feels like there is some breathing room.  Autumn brings with it the sentiments of transformation; with crisp mornings and sunny skies – this is Melbourne’s best month. 

As the vestiges of 2020’s New Normal fall away, we make room for a New New Normal to emerge and grow. Thank you to all of our collaborators and friends who have stood beside us over these strange and changing seasons past.


Move-in × West Side Place 

We went with Dark and Moody for Queens Place, the new residential project by 3L Alliance in the heart of Melbourne. We worked on the FF&E curation for the private spaces including the cinema, karaoke room and wine tasting areas.


Move-in × Journal Student Living

Making student rooms feel comfortable and cosy is often like Tetris. Combining functionality in a compact space, with a sense of curated care is always top on our list when working on Student Accommodation projects.

From furniture to joinery and styling, creating a home away from home is a good feeling. The student rooms and social spaces at Journal Student Living are testimony to the care shown across their projects.


Move-in × Current Mood

Taking the trope of the Australian wildlife and landscape, Move-in designer Stephanie has been weaving some magic into an FF&E concept for a for a new project. 



The Jewish Museum of Australia and Zahava Elenberg collaborate on Melbourne meeting place

Unveiled today at Melbourne’s Birrarung Marr, Sukkah is a pop-up meeting place collaboratively designed by The Jewish Museum of Australia and leading architect and designer Zahava Elenberg.

Representing a symbol of community, connection and reflection as the city’s Covid-19 restrictions lift, the vibrant prismatic structure forms a kaleidoscopic canopy and offers a place for visitors to rediscover the city anew.

Originally planned to open in time for the week-long Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot in early October but delayed by extensions in Melbourne’s lockdown, Sukkah is now unveiled as a new outdoor meeting place for Melburnians to gather, reconnect and reflect as the city begins to emerge from its long Covid winter.

“This beautiful site-specific installation reflects the long-held Jewish tradition of constructing temporary booths or huts in which to rejoice with family, friends and neighbours while giving thanks to the earth for its bounty,” says Jewish Museum of Australia director Jess Bram.

“As Melbourne comes out of its long and challenging lockdown, Zahava’s inspiring sculpture feels like the perfect symbol of unity and hope that we’re proud to be offering our city.”

Jess Bram, director of the Jewish Museum of Australia

Co-founder of Melbourne-based architecture firm Elenberg Fraser and founder of furniture fit-out company Move-in, Elenberg has created the pop-up installation using the same components used for Clikclax – the mobile distancing solution that she launched earlier this year ( in response to Covid-19.

Initially conceived as a post-pandemic return solution for Move-in’s open-plan Melbourne office, Clikclax is the functional and flexible system for physical distancing for workplaces, public spaces and beyond.

Sukkah is a temporary shelter in memory of the huts used by the Israelites as they wandered the Sinai Desert during their exodus from Egypt. It is a place of memory and empathy for those who are homeless and displaced,” explains Elenberg.

“The walls are the colours of the earth, desert and etrog (the fruit of the citron tree). The blue eaves remind us of the limitless sky and encourage us to look beyond adversity. The roof is clear to allow the stars to be seen at night, and is connected with shades of the hadas (the myrtle tree), aravah (the willow tree) and lulav (the palm frond). In this time of uncertainty and isolation, the Sukkah brings us together to reflect on humanity and what it means to be part of a community.”

Available to visit now as an outdoor-only meeting place, Sukkah will remain on Birrarung Marr until 13 December 2020.

The pop-up will open up further as Covid-19 restrictions ease with visitors able to enter and view the internal structure.

Last year, Elenberg Fraser completed Saint Boulevard, a new multi-residential project situated on St Kilda Rd boulevard ( architecture/leafy-haven-modern-primates/) that the firm created for an emerging social group they call the ‘modern primate’.

Photography by Marie Luise, Courtesy of The Jewish Museum of Australia



The work is a collaboration between designer Zahava Elenberg and the Jewish Museum of Australia

Those returning to the city might notice something new at Birrarung Marr. ‘Sukkah’ is a new, temporary work of public art that has been installed at Birrarung Marr in a collaborative project between designer Zahava Elenberg and the Jewish Museum of Australia. 

‘Sukkah’ resembles a colourful, fragile structure similar in appearance to a futurist cubby house or castle and is intended as a “symbol of community, connection and reflection”. That resemblance to a shelter isn’t a coincidence, with designer Elenberg explaining “‘Sukkah’ is a temporary shelter in memory of the huts used by the Israelites as they wandered the Sinai Desert during their exodus from Egypt. It is a place of memory and empathy for those who are homeless and displaced.” 

The transparent multicoloured sheets that give ‘Sukkah’ its magic are the work of Elenberg, who created the material (named Clikclax) earlier this year as a flexible physical distancing aid in workplaces and public areas. As visible in ‘Sukkah’, the material slots together and can be adjusted into many shapes, much like the 1970s toy Playplax that inspired it. 

The installation was originally due to be unveiled in early October in line with the Jewish harvest festival Sukkot but was delayed due to restrictions. Jewish Museum of Australia director Jess Bram says: “As Melbourne comes out of its long and challenging lockdown, Zahava’s inspiring sculpture feels like the perfect symbol of unity and hope that we’re proud to be offering our city.”

‘Sukkah’ can be viewed at Birrarung Marr until December 13. Currently visitors can only enjoy the structure from the outside, but as restrictions ease it’s expected guests will be able to go inside the work. The Jewish Museum of Australia will reopen from January 17, 2021. 


We recently sat down with the design team from Move-in and asked a range of questions about their design philosophy.

Their responses excited us as they spoke about what they envisage for the future of design — not just in student accommodation but across a range of developing industries.

Lisa Bellear House — University of Melbourne. © Tess Kelly.
Lisa Bellear House — University of Melbourne. © Tess Kelly.

What is the underlying design philosophy that drives Move-in when working with a new client in student accommodation?

When taking on a new student accommodation project, our primary objective is to support our communities to live better through considered, functional and exciting spaces.

We see student accommodation as an opportunity to design not only a unique environment, but a total experience and we work together with our clients to create something inspiring and innovative.

It is important to us to approach any design brief with a sense of place and therefore support collaborations with local creatives and makers whenever possible.

What is it about student accommodation as a sector that inspires Move-in?

The opportunity to design spaces which evoke social interaction and a sense of community. We like to play with colour, texture and artwork to instil a sense of a home away from home.

What are the challenges when it comes to design and FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment) in the student accommodation sector?

Maintaining a balance that ensures products specified are fit for purpose, durable, beautiful and meet the budget. As we focus solely on FF&E, we can ensure that these objectives are met for each of our projects, as we take a holistic approach from furniture through to styling.

What are the opportunities when it comes to design and FF&E in the student accommodation sector?

Students are design savvy and expect a higher standard than just a bed, desk and couple of generic pool tables now. This is good news for us as a design-led FF&E turn-key provider as we are able to focus on the elements that make for inspired social and personal spaces. Our clients realise the benefit of investing in this area of the project and understand the advantage of having considered, cohesive FF&E design.

Lisa Bellear House — University of Melbourne. © Tess Kelly.
Journal Uni Place — Journal Student Living. © Tom Ross.

What’s next for Move-in?

We plan to continue focusing our efforts on multi room applications including Independent Boutique Hotels and Student Accommodation of course!

We also have goals to introduce design- led FF&E into senior living and co-working spaces. We’re excited at the progress that’s being made in these industries, especially in Melbourne and it’s a move that we’d like to support and be a part of.

Having operated in FF&E for over 18 years now, Move-in has successfully managed to cultivate a tight-knit team who bring complimentary skills and a shared passion for design to the table.

There is a vibrant and cohesive energy about the company which was palpable when we visited their studio in Fitzroy.

What continues to set the Move-in team of experienced designers, operations and management staff apart is their capability to provide a full turn-key service, from design right through to delivery and after care service.

After 18 years delivering complete furniture solutions, they have this sorted!

GSA Pelham — Global Student Living. © Tom Ross.
Journal Uni Place — Journal Student Living. © Tom Ross.

Practical as she is philosophical, Zahava Elenberg works collaboratively with developers and architects realising their vision for how a finished space can come to life.

Having designed award-winning buildings herself as an architect and establishing businesses recognised for design, from architecture firm Elenberg Fraser in 1998, to full furniture fit out company Move-In in 2002, it seems only natural to ask — what does good design mean to you?

After more than 20 years in a design-focused industry, her humility endearing, she responds:

“I have no idea,” mid-laughter.

“It’s like asking, what’s a good painting? Or what’s a good sculpture? They’re so intangible.”

“It’s the fusion between philosophy and execution. That intangible, ungraspable thing. It’s something elusive, which you often can’t define.

“Good design; something has to resonate with you, reflecting your own sense of who you are, and your own morality.”

The Boulevard — Move-In worked with developer GSA and architect MJA Studio on the project. © Dion Robeson

A niche in the market

Established 17 years ago, the idea for Move-In was conceived almost by accident during her time at Elenberg Fraser, when clients asked the firm to furnish properties for their investors.

“It’s not something that I had heard of, something that existed, or something that we did,” she said.

“Today every project we do is totally unique and we try and deliver the promise of the architect and the developer’s vision from the outset,” she says.

Move-In are currently working with developer Global Student Accommodation (GSA) on a suite of student accommodation projects.

The first of which, was a 13-level DKO-designed development called University Square in Carlton.

“We designed and delivered full furniture, fixture and equipment (FF&E) fit out for both locations, ensuring each had its own distinct look that complimented each architectural build,” Elenberg said.

The second GSA collaboration includes Perth-based “The Boulevard”, designed by architecture firm MJA Studio.

Zahava describes the site as a “slick and Scandinavian design aesthetic with monochromatic interior” which comprises 576 beds.

Journal. Move-In worked with developer Citiplan and architect METIER 3 on this project. © Tom Ross

A recent collaboration with developer Citiplan saw Move-In furnish a mixture of 804 student studios and shared apartments, also located in Carlton.

Operated by Journal Student Living, and designed by architect METIER 3, Zahava says the project included several large and quirky social spaces furnished with items to ensure the space feels “quintessentially Melbourne”.

“We’re really trying to bring a localised environment into what we’re doing, whether that’s working with local designers, or using local products, and we’ve got some great clients who believe in that.”

‘Quintessentially Melbourne’ — Journal in Melbourne’s inner suburb Carlton. © Tom Ross

On creativity

As a recently appointed board member of the Melbourne Film Festival, when asked how her interests in film and her roles in the property sector overlap, she’s decisively clear.

“I love process and detail.

“They share the same mental dexterity which is problem-solving. You have to find a creative solution for each one of those problems.

“And I get enormous pleasure out of a beautifully crafted and complicated spreadsheet as much as I do from reading beautifully crafted scripts.

“How you can get involved in the architectural structure of screenwriting, and the way in which you imagine that as a film, is very defined in the way it fits together.

“That sense of order and the processing of information to me is very powerful.”

Zahava pictured with her youngest daughter Hephzibah. © Sarah Collins.

On diversity

As she moves through life, the pool of experiences she draws from continues to refine itself.

“The older I get, the more I gravitate towards people that have a diverse background of experiences. People that have had to navigate difficulties and challenges,” she says.

Having traversed loss, her father at a young age, and illness, she knows trying times.

“The hues of life are richer and deeper when you add those layers of complexity.

“My step-father is amazing and has been part of my life for more than 30- years.

“And Mum has always taught me, not through words, but through her actions that you can be whoever you want to be, and do whatever you want to do.

“And that’s been my goal to instil in my own three children.”

“The hues of life are richer and deeper when you add those layers of complexity”

Zahava Elenberg
Melbourne University was the developer on 303 Royal Parade, Move-In also worked with architect Hayball on the project, © Tess Kelly

And while Move-In is firmly grounded within the student accommodation and the serviced hotels sectors, Elenberg says she’s focused on expanding into the senior living space.

“It can be a very lonely thing to be an elderly person in this society.

“Some horrible statistic came out last year that said around 50 per cent of people in retirement homes have zero visitors.

“Age is not an illness but loneliness is.”

Her plan for “elderhood” a cultural community for people aged over 80 in the senior living space focuses on education, events and social engagement, something she plans to launch in her favourite world city, New York.

Move-In delivered full furniture fit out in the Fender Katsalidis designed Punthill Ivanhoe apartment hotel, Melbourne. © Martina Gemmola

And having known “success” in many forms, the former Telstra Young Businesswoman of the Year believes its definition is being able to implement some kind of change.

“I think there’s this very artificial sense of achievement that wealth brings and that’s not what success is to me.

“Success is more about contribution, and being part of a continuous narrative that allows for change.

“It’s also having the freedom to do the things that you love doing, and the things that are important to you.

“I say to my kids, success is in the tiny things. It’s setting a goal and achieving it, whether that’s cleaning the kitchen or writing an amazing story.

“It’s a sense of achievement, and that’s self-determined.”

Fast facts

Zahava, and Hephzibah, sit on her father Joel Elenberg’s sculpture ‘Untitled’, 1976. © Sarah Collins.

What excites her most about the industry? Imaginative clients.

Favourite architect? Elenberg says she will always have a soft spot for Mies (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe — regarded as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture).

Favourite designed building or space? Central Park, New York.

Mother to three: Lilith, Boaz and Hephzibah.

Only child of art gallery owner Anna Schwartz and sculptor the late Joel Elenberg.

Step-daughter of publisher and property mogul Morry Schwartz.

Her favourite author is Nicholson Baker, and poem? A Season in Hell by Arthur Rimbaud.