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

George Yabu (left) and Glenn Pushelberg. Image courtesy of Yabu Pushelberg

George Yabu (left) and Glenn Pushelberg. Image courtesy of Yabu Pushelberg

The Taylor collection for Stellar Works was among one of the studio’s ranges launched at Salone del Mobile this year. Pictured here is the Taylor valet

The Taylor collection for Stellar Works was among one of the studio’s ranges launched at Salone del Mobile this year. Pictured here is the Taylor valet

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

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The Taylor lounge chair and floor lamp for Stellar Works

The Taylor lounge chair and floor lamp for Stellar Works

The Taylor cabinet and bar stool for Stellar Works

The Taylor cabinet and bar stool for Stellar Works

The Puddle coffee table is part of Yabu Pushelberg’s second collection with Italian furniture brand Henge

The Puddle coffee table is part of Yabu Pushelberg’s second collection with Italian furniture brand Henge

The firm launched its new studio in Tribeca with an immersive installation by Jason Bruges Studio that incorporated the latest collection for Hinge. Image by Charlie Schuck

The firm launched its new studio in Tribeca with an immersive installation by Jason Bruges Studio that incorporated the latest collection for Hinge. Image by Charlie Schuck

The studio designed Hong Kong fine-dining restaurant Arbor

The studio designed Hong Kong fine-dining restaurant Arbor

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Jean-Georges Vongerichten ‘s The Fulton in New York, the chef’s first seafood restaurant, designed by Yabu Pushelberg

Jean-Georges Vongerichten ‘s The Fulton in New York, the chef’s first seafood restaurant, designed by Yabu Pushelberg

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The duo worked with Ian Schrager on the recently opened Times Square EDITION. Image by Nicolas Koenig

The duo worked with Ian Schrager on the recently opened Times Square EDITION. Image by Nicolas Koenig

Image by Nicolas Koenig

Image by Nicolas Koenig

Image by Nicolas Koenig

Image by Nicolas Koenig

The studio is also behind the design of the The Peninsula Chicago’s Z Bar. Image by Alice Gao

The studio is also behind the design of the The Peninsula Chicago’s Z Bar. Image by Alice Gao