MOHD interviews: the creative spark of George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg

3 February 2022

Exclusive and informal, refined and casual, the projects of the YabuPushelberg studio reflect the personal style of its founders, a couple in life and at work

Elegant and welcoming shapes, reduced to their essence and yet able to amaze. The projects of George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg represent the balance between disruptive creativity and the ability to dose it, achieved in the over forty-year career of the studio they founded together. Couple at work and in life, Yabu and Pushelberg collaborate with prestigious companies, always leaving their mark, inserting themselves in a fluid way within the company history but at the same time bringing out their own personality, carrying on the work of two as in a dance. From the material minimalism of the YAB dining table for Collection Particuliere, to the organic and generous shapes of the upholstered Pukka for Ligne Roset and Surf for Molteni&C, from the refined weaves of the Nodi collection for Tribù to the innovative structure of the Heath armchair and sofa for Linteloo. A succession of sophisticated and familiar furnishings at the same time that reflect the natural elegance of the designers and their ability to blend into a unique creative soul.

Why did you choose to work together and what does this choice imply?

We have been working together for 42 years. We met during university, we were both looking for a studio and we decided to share a space. We helped each other with our drawings and in the end we discovered that we had designed in the same way and here we decided to found a small company. Working together can resemble a dance but also a car accident! Most days you get to know your partner so well it’s as easy as dancing, and in fact we’ve been dancing together for 42 years. Other times it changes and you feel like you don’t know your partner at all, but that’s okay.

YAB table for Collection Particuliere

What are the values ​​that you carry forward through your work?

We have values ​​in our personal life, first of all integrity and inclusiveness, the search for a certain level of perfection, which perhaps does not exist but leads you to give your best in a project and curiosity for new things. These are our values ​​and we try to translate them into our work, to pass them on to our practitioners and in the approach to the project.

Heath sofa and armchair for Linteloo

Art is one of your passions, do you feel free to use it in your projects?

Art is like “the cream in the cannolo”, like the “icing on the cake”. Lately we fell in love with Yayoi Kusama’s work and bought a painting of her and asked her to make a pumpkin sculpture for our Toronto office. Whether they are great artists like her, or engaging photographs, if you choose carefully you can make a project truly special.

Pukka Collection for Ligne Roset

Contract design is changing a lot, in your opinion in which direction it is going?

I believe that the idea that it is important to feel at home in a hotel has never really been realized and that rather the goal of a brand in this sector is to create a sort of aspirational familiarity. In The Londoners (one of YabuPushelberg’s latest hotel projects) the rooms show a certain honesty in design. There are hotels where the rooms look like shoeboxes and others that are conventional in design but still comfortable. After all, there are days when we want to stay in an essential and chic hotel and others when we want to have fun and feel a little joie de vivre. We choose the hotel based on our mood of the moment. And the hotel must somehow choose which personality to adopt.

Surf sofa for Molteni&C

Among your collaborations there is also the one with Tribù, a company specializing in outdoor furniture, is it fair to say that this sector is becoming increasingly important?

Nodi Collection for Tribù

I think Covid has really brought out the desire to spend more time outdoors. We have often been asked to furnish outdoor spaces, such as restaurants, but in the past there was not much attention to the planning of these spaces. Now we have realized the importance of being close to nature and understood that we can improve this experience. Compared to the first collection we designed for Tribù, the sector has really grown. We design the external environment as a whole, we do not limit ourselves to inserting furniture and in this sense, light also plays a very important role in creating the right mood.

Nodi Collection for Tribù

Speaking of architecture, is there a place in the world that you particularly love where you would like to design and build something?

It’s hard to find an answer because the world is so full of amazing places! The first place that comes to mind is Tokyo in Japan but we already have three projects there! Japan comes to mind talking about perfection and the possibility of designing something beautiful: it has a long tradition of design, and it is a conscious design that has inherent beauty and perfection. So the ultimate challenge for a designer is to work in places like that.

Tribù Nodi
Tribù Nodi
Collection Particuliere YAB
Linteloo Heath Armchair
Ligne Roset Pukka
Molteni & C. Surf
Molteni & C. Surf

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