The Evolution of Yabu Pushelberg
Last month in Milan, we sat down with George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg to ask them a few questions about the studio’s growth since it was founded almost four decades ago
Design Anthology: You set up the studio almost four decades ago, how much has it all changed since then?
George Yabu: It’s changed a lot.
Glenn Pushelberg: For the last five years we’ve been working on morphing ourselves from an interior design practice into a multi-disciplinary design practice. Now we have a product design team, fabric designers, lighting consultants and a graphic communications department.
Yabu: And they’re all trained in these fields; they're not interior designers designing furniture but designers who actually trained in textiles designing textiles or carpets, and furniture designers designing furniture. Our clients say they can tell the difference, because these chairs that we're doing now aren’t the same, they're not designed by interior designers, and that’s a compliment to us. We're going to hire an architect next.
Pushelberg: The reasons we’re doing this is that when you design projects like resorts, you want the ability to design the building, the interiors, the uniforms —all the details.
Yabu: It's a little bit more about complete concepts.
Pushelberg: Yes, so we’re doing fewer projects, but designing more holistically.
And as the team has grown have you felt, as creative people, that it’s made your lives easier or more challenging?
Pushelberg: It’s made our lives more complicated but more interesting; more challenging but in a positive way. It keeps us young and keeps us curious. You know, if it was just about the money then we would be better off just continuing to design luxury hotels, but we’d find that a little tedious because we already know how to do it really well. We like doing them when it’s the right project, but we want to be challenged.
Over the years, as the practice has changed and you've grown, has the work-life balance gotten any easier?
Yabu: [Laughs] Glenn and I have never really experienced work-life balance, we think this is normal. I think we want to see what's going on outside the world of design; our pace may have changed a little, but our curiosity level still hasn't dissipated.
As told to / Suzy Annetta
Read the rest of this interview in the Design Anthology Fair Report: Milan Design Week 2019
From the editors of Design Anthology, this 94-page perfect-bound compendium captures the energy, events and encounters of the world’s most influential design event, combined with key insights and analysis unpacking the industry’s future