XXIV - 2015

Glenn Pushelberg embraces the pressures of time in his interior design career


PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 November, 2015, 10:18am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 November, 2015, 12:06pm

Glenn Pushelberg is the human equivalent of a popular Pinterest account. Not only is his life undeniably beautiful - admittedly due to his job as a globally renowned designer - but his proactive mindset puts the rest of us to shame. In short, he's the kind of person we've always wished we could be. 

"Every day is new and different," says Pushelberg, half of the duo that make up the award-winning design firm Yabu Pushelberg. "Other than brushing my teeth twice a day, [I don't have habits or rituals]. I love the unpredictability of having my actionschange on a daily basis." 

The interior designer's spontaneity is characteristic of his general attitude towards life. Pushelberg says one of the biggest lessons he's learned over the course of his career is not to take anything for granted: "Look at everything as an opportunity, and always look forward to change."

He and his partner George Yabu live and work by this maxim, and it shows. The designers have won numerous awards since the studio's creation in 1980, and their works range from the chic Blink furniture collection to global interior projects for the Four Seasons, W Hotel, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Hong Kong's Lane Crawford, Louis Vuitton and Dalloyau - locations that see a stream of affluent foot traffic daily.

Rather than becoming overwhelmed by professional difficulties, the designers embrace the challenges. "George and I always have the pressure of time; it's what we fight against. That said, time also forces us to have clarity of mind and make decisions," Pushelberg says. "We try to use the limitations of time in positive ways in order to push for the most creative answers to things."

The designers also have time for leisure, which they use to get away from man-made creations and surround themselves with nature's designs. "We like to go to our beach house in the summer and relax with family and friends by the ocean - it's our favourite thing to do," Pushelberg says. "Time is precious - it's a luxury." 

The overachieving duo show no signs of stopping. Not content with designing everything from furniture to architecture, the pair also aspire to make their design work "holistically complete" by getting involved in the whole production process. "We want to have more of a hand in the creative production within our projects and direct all aspects of it," Pushelberg says. "This includes the programming, uniforms, table tops, even the music - the kind of creative programming that makes hotels, stores and restaurants [compelling and] iconic." 

The designers achieve this through a combination of hard work and a refreshing open-mindedness when it comes to teamwork. "We like to surround ourselves with people from many different generations," Pushelberg says. "It's important for us tofill our studio with young minds because we learn from them, and they learn from our experiences." 

The age disparity in the studio also offers the designers fresh perspectives as they tackle an ever-evolving luxury industry, a fact they learned soon after taking on a store interior project for the skincare brand Fancl. "Today, it's hard to be relevant as a brick-and-mortar shop; a lot of brands tend to grow by way of online sales," Pushelberg says. "With this project, it was more important for the client to create an engaging and memorable experience for every customer that walks through their doors. The key was to give people something that they cannot get online. The store needed to create memories." JT


"I love this one particular blue-faced Tag Heuer timepiece. It's the Monaco model that came out in 1969; [actor] Steve McQueen had one exactly like it. While the design is a little unusual, it's a classic heavy men's watch with history."