Crafting spaces that delight those who linger in them is Yabu Pushelberg’s raison d’être. The prolific Toronto- and New York-based practice, going strong since 1980, is driven by people’s motley lifestyles. “Design is the byproduct of this curiosity,” says cofounder Glenn Pushelberg. “What got us to where we are today is our tenacity to think bigger and brighter.”
That optimism—and a mutual respect—have defined Pushelberg’s synergistic relationship with cofounder George Yabu. Collaborating for over 40 years, the couple’s disparate strengths have crystallized. “George can recognize how the smallest of details can create the most impactful statements and resolutions; I zoom way out and think of how we can catapult ourselves,” Pushelberg says. “There is a beautiful and seamless duality to how we work. We still feel young but now with a lot more wisdom, flexibility, and humor.”
Everything Yabu Pushelberg designs is rooted in the desire to induce happiness, a philosophy that takes different forms. Products are an essential part of the portfolio: The firm has partnered with such brands as Collection Particulière, Glas Italia, Henge, Lasvit, and Man of Parts.
“There is so much stuff in the world. If we are contributing to creating more, it better be able to stand the test of time and ooze purpose,” Pushelberg says. “A lot of what we do is based on how we perceive the world and how we can tweak things to make them as functional and joyful as possible.”
Improvement is also the impetus behind Yabu Pushelberg’s products. With them, “we are resolving a problem, likely one we have come across in an interior project,” Yabu says. “Through interiors, we can pinpoint what is lacking, what can be refined so we can make it better, and what has yet to exist.”
Consider the recently unveiled Konoha for Marset, a matte black steel wall lamp that addresses the need for ambient and direct light, fusing both functions in one elegantly minimalist fixture.
The Miles lighting collection for Lasvit is another highlight: The fluted fixtures celebrate the similarities between playing brass instruments and the glassblowing process, pushing glassmaking to its limits much like the balancing act a trumpet player or jazz vocalist performs when they’re on stage. “The bedrock of all is purpose and transformation,” says Pushelberg. “How this translates to our approach to projects and products is storytelling, and the stories we craft are based on how we can resolve a problem, fill a void, or produce context.”
With Tivalì 2.0, their updated built-in kitchen for Molteni&C (the 2004 original is the handiwork of Dante Bonuccelli), they explored cooking rituals and the notion of community. “We were entrusted with modernizing the original kitchen design while honoring its roots. We wanted to make it a destination equivalent to how one would engage with a living room,” explains Yabu. Distinguished by large aluminum sliding doors, Tivalì 2.0 “has a discreet, gentle crescent arch to the bottom panels that creates a deep, sweeping panoramic effect that elongates the field of view and embellishes the act of entering the kitchen. It’s as if you are walking into a surround sound for the senses to be ignited.”
As always, a flurry of projects is keeping Yabu Pushelberg busy. The duo’s two- to six-bedroom residences are opening soon at the Aman Tokyo, and the Park Hyatt Los Cabos resort in Mexico is slated for completion in 2024. Joining those projects are a proliferation of new products, including quilts for Christopher Farr and an inaugural rug collection for CC-Tapis.
“Our work is an ecosystem,” says Yabu. “We’re always thinking about how one piece will echo into the next.”