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Top Interior Designers: Yabu Pushelberg Always Delivers the UnexpectedMonday 24 August 2015
Top Interior Designers: Yabu Pushelberg Always Delivers the Unexpected ⇒ Yabu Pushelberg is an international design company, with studios in Toronto, SoHo, and New York. It was founded in 1980 by Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu. The teams are focused on the design and project management of personnel specialised in interior, furniture and product design, for the hospitality and retail industries. The company also does residential projects.
George and Glenn‘s partnership is peerless, and their innate creative abilities have made them thought leaders, in the design world. Dedicated to delivering the unexpected, they constantly shift visual paradigms with each completed project, the end result eliciting an emotional resonance in the user.
Biography: The Men Before the Myth
In, 1972, two Ontario natives were brought to Ryerson University in Toronto for reasons that can be loosely linked to kismet. The same stroke of fate brought them together a few years later, and would mark the start of an abiding partnership in business and in life.
More than three decades later, George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg oversee one of the recognised design companies in the world. The Yabu Pushelber Studios redefine how the world sees and experiences the built environment. The work is designed collectively: it is imaginative, thoughtful, and honest, while continuously moving between the rational and the intuitive. It is this interchangeability of their individual roles, that in unison, is distinctive.
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Yabu Pushelberg first major project in the UK — the new hotel from Ian Schrager: the London edition. As with all hotel editions, it should have a cultural epicenter and a microcosm of the best each city has to offer. Located in central London’s Fitzrovia, lodging preserves the finest aspects of the historic building — formerly the Berners hotel — yet reinvents the spaces within in order to create a dynamic fusion of old and new, past and present.
Combining the traditional character of the landmark with a simple and sophisticated design sensibility, what creates a seamless blend of charisma and ease, resulting in a feeling that cannot be pigeonholed into a specific time period or style. The hotel offers a social hub where guests and visitors can work, relax, socialize and dine all under one roof; behind the refined Georgian exterior and majestic public spaces, there are two bars, a restaurant, meeting rooms, a 24-hour fitness facility and 173 secluded, intimate and luxurious wood panelled rooms and a buzzing lobby.
The public spaces embody Schrager’s ‘new kind of gathering place’ and set out to astonish and seduce with an electric energy pulsating throughout. The hotel lobby is an arabesque atrium with variegated marbles across walls, floors and corner bar, all original to the hotel and painstakingly restored, glittering below stucco ceilings. The lobby is a juxtaposition between the existing traditional spaces and modern insertions. The American minimal artist, Donald Judd serves as the inspiration for both rooms.
The hotel reflects the grand traditions of Great Britain: the traditional, aristocratic English country manor and the quintessential London private gentleman’s club with a modern, edgy, urban feel. When these diametrically opposed aesthetics come together, they create an alchemy that takes the hotel and the experience to an entirely new level. The sumptuous interiors, lavishly decorated with marble and intricately carved ceilings, are superb grade II-listed examples of a great time of extravagance at its finest.
Yabu Pushelberg designed the interior of the Establishment, the rooms and suites especially, with refined quietude in mind. Natural fibers and neutral tones abound which speak of the sandy beaches below and bring an overall lightness to space. The room design is pared-down and simple with clean lines and clear surfaces, while still offering plush comfort.
Other original elements found throughout the building include gilt mosaic-tiled columns and a white and black stone floor in the lobby, which Yabu Pushelberg juxtaposed against soft natural materials used in the lounge area, as well as the original radial sundeck, a staple of the beach resort, dotted with ample linen daybeds and copious arrays of pillows.
The original curvilinear pool was also preserved, counter-balanced by a new rectangular pool both surrounded by lounge chairs and private cabanas in what is Miami’s largest poolside experiences. The rest of the grounds offer multitudes of games and diversions including a bowling alley, ice rink, and of course, a night club.
Recalling the vibrant and welcoming energy of a street market, SIWILAI is a multi-brand fashion and style shop anchored by a flexible central event and exhibition space. Inspired to create a dynamic environment that includes a unique brand mix to raw experiences, SIWILAI presents a counterculture to conventional Thai shopping.
Merchandise is shown surrounding the central square within nooks, crannies, and corners, built to preserve a sense of discovery throughout. Everything within the store environment is bespoke, with a curated, purposeful feel; each detail was considered to reinforce the ethos of the brand. A balance of intricacy and simplicity was produced with careful attention to details. Materials are authentic, honest, and not overly processed. They represent a character and rigor found in traditional Thai craftsmanship and a modern Bangkok. The main entrance captures the Thai spirit with three pairs of solid walnut doors, carved with pattern devised from a scaled version of the SIWILAI logo, a portal into the ever-changing environment within.
Like many of their counterparts in the fashion world, interior designers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg have a specific woman in mind when they are conceiving a new project — although the imagined muse changes from client to client.
“We created a whole story line about this girl named Chloë. She’s from the Upper East Side and then went to NYU. She got married and went back uptown, but she still has this downtown attitude,” explains Pushelberg about the inspiration for their new restaurant in Manhattan’s Peninsula hotel, which is set to open in September. “We always come up with a script for clarity — both for ourselves and to keep clients on track.”
Across the Atlantic, Yabu Pushelberg is immersed in the rejuvenation of another storied retailer, the department store Printemps, on the recommendation of former Louis Vuitton chairman and ceo Yves Carcelle. Last year, the firm helped complete a revamp of three floors of the main Printemps building on Boulevard Haussmann, which housed the women’s handbags, accessories, watches and jewelry categories. This fall, they’ll begin renovations on an adjacent building, including the ground and lower levels that currently house cosmetics, fragrances, and lingerie.
In China, the company has a long relationship with Lane Crawford and last fall designed a new unit in the Yintai Centre in Beijing — largely at the behest of a single cosseted customer, according to Pushelberg.
As they spend much of our time traveling they find inspiration everywhere. Yabu Pushelberg says “We are insp￼ired by other people, beautiful things; inspiration can be found in the simplest to most complex forms.”
The Creator’s Choice
The firm has been honored with the Platinum Circle Award for its exceptional achievement in the hospitality industry as well as with the James Beard Foundation Award for excellence in restaurant design. Partners George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg were voted among the “101 people you must meet in 2011” by Town & Country magazine. They have been named among the top 25 designers by Elle Décor magazine and they have been inducted into the Interior Design magazine Hall of Fame. Condé Nast Traveler magazine named Yabu Pushelberg the “Hot Interior Design Firm” of 2011.
Other Astonishing Projects
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