Yabu Pushelberg

Submitted for: Designer of the Year

About the Designer

George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg are the founding partners of Yabu Pushelberg - one of the most recognized design studios in the world, with projects in over 18 countries. The collaborative design practice covers all aspects of design from building, graphic, hospitality apparel, interior, landscape, lighting, product, textile design and the decorative arts. Founded in 1980, the company is known for its commitment towards innovation, quality ideas and award-winning work. Projects - Four Seasons New York Downtown, Park Hyatt Bangkok, W Guangzhou, Lane Crawford IFC, Louis Vuitton Hong Kong, Moxy Times Square and Arbor – a restaurant in Hong Kong. Product collaborations – Avenue Road, Glas Italia, Lasvit, Stellar Works and Tribu.

Why they’ve been nominated

Yabu Pushelberg is known for its “anything is possible” approach to design, experimenting with new materials and forging relationships with independent artists to create original interiors that transcend trends and push the boundaries of design. With international commissions since its inception, George and Glenn have traveled to over 125 countries but feel there is always more to explore and learn; as new projects lead them to different parts of the world, they continue to be driven by the ever-changing global landscape. With over 100 employees and offices in New York and Toronto, they are inspired and impassioned by the melding of cultures, ideas and energy in both cities.

Arbor, Hong Kong

The well-appointed, faintly bohemian atmosphere of Arbor, a relaxed fine dining restaurant located in a gallery-filled building in Hong Kong’s financial district, is warm and welcoming. The residentially-inspired restaurant is quietly sensuous, inflected with a refined rusticity. Upon entry, interconnected spaces appear intimate in scale, with internal vistas rhythmically framed by arches that separate and connect the bar area to the main dining room. The former is enveloped in muted blush colour, a feeling further enhanced by arced ceilings to create an immersive, cocooning effect. Cloistered sightlines allow for a glimpse into the adjacent dining room, feeding a sense of curiosity for what lies beyond. Separated from the bar area by custom open-weave metal mesh ‘gates’ – the dining room is airier in contrast - high ceilings and an expansive glazing wall direct the view over the Hong Kong cityscape. The interiors are finished in a collection of warm, soft textures in botanic tones of cream and sage; plaster walls, wood floors and soft drapery boast a material integrity to match the humble ingredients honoured in the culinary offering. Artisanal, handcrafted details and custom-designed elements from furniture to tabletop, uphold the distinct feeling created for Arbor. Yabu Pushelberg-designed furniture within the dining room includes custom oak tables and leather-bound oak-framed chairs that are modern and sophisticated without compromising comfort. Lighting is soft and romantic; flattering indirect light provides an ambient glow throughout.

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The Four Seasons Kuwait, Kuwait

The Four Seasons Kuwait represents the utmost in modern sophistication and elegance. Richly layered details inspired by Middle Eastern motifs and architecture are re-interpreted in a modern way, providing a uniqueness that is entirely of the Four Seasons Kuwait. Colours and finishes throughout the hotel are informed by the intensity of the desert and the local climate; playing with the contrast between daytime heat and cool nights. Grand Foyer & Lobby Lounge - Much like a grand home, characterized by the expansion and contraction of linked compartments, the square entry space eases guests in through to the main lobby, gallery and the adjacent lounge. Soaring ceilings enhance the sculptural quality of the architecture, punctuated by an iconic crystal sculptural installation suspended from the center of the lobby ceiling. Surrounding walls are clad in textured limestone, combined with carved oak panels reminiscent of oversized sculpted wood doors. Geometric patterned stone floors traverse the lobby, further enveloping the space in neutral tones. The reception desk, designed as a sculptural object, sits at opposite ends from a stunning framed view of the grand stair. Set against a backdrop of intense burnt orange, the monolithic grand stair, framed by Middle-Eastern-inspired extruded textured bronze screens, extends up the full height of the lobby with statement-making impact. Leading to the elevator lobby, set against deep indigo walls, cabinets of carefully collected sculptural objects add interest and texture. Furnished in a purposefully curated way to express a welcoming, residentially-inspired quality, the generous lounge offers a beautiful range of colours and textures.

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Z Bar, Chicago

The Peninsula Chicago Z Bar was conceived to inspire a private social club atmosphere, with an unexpected, off-beat sensibility that will surely leave a lasting impression. The layered juxtaposition of rough and refined textures with graphic pattern and artistic insertions of flora and fauna work together to define a sophisticated look and feel unique to this property. As visitors step into the elevator leading up to the top floor of the Peninsula Chicago, they find themselves enveloped by a custom verdant mural overlaid with a reflective glaze, allowing guests to catch a glimpse of themselves in the foliage. Stepping off the elevator, guests are greeted by a series of framed animal portraits in the compact wood-paneled lobby, setting a fanciful tone. From there, a series of passageways frame the sequence of staggered rooms beyond, in addition to an uninterrupted connection to the outdoors. The space evolves as guests travel through it, creating an unfolding sense of discovery. In the lounges, open-grain oak paneled walls contrast the curvilinear residentially-inspired furniture groupings, upholstered in soft neutrals and rich, dark colours. Decorative, jewel- like pendants hang above long communal polished bronze tables, adding warmth to the room. Trapezoid-patterned stone floors in graphic black and white extend throughout the space; a pattern that is repeated in wood on the ceilings. The adjacent bar area, dominated by an elliptic bar at its center, is overlaid in moody dusk hues. Hand-painted walls in a custom mural of Chicago’s skyline by artisans Moss & Lam are subtly ombré giving vibrancy and depth to the room.

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S Bar - Miami

Tucked behind the main lobby of the SLS Lux Brickell , S Bar encapsulates the sensuality and vibrancy of the entire property in one dramatic, layered statement. Walls are wrapped in a fanciful custom mural by En Viu artists, Chandler Noah and Diego Castano, adding depth, dimension and lush colour to the indoor space. Expressive pattern on pattern continues with dramatic floor to ceiling drapery in a cream, black and yellow lattice pattern framing the glazing wall, which plays off the black and white tile floor and eclectic mix of custom upholstered pieces. Tailored banquettes line the perimeter of the room while the centre of the space is anchored with four curved-back sofas, all interspersed with smaller round poufs, allowing for easily reconfigurable seating. Sightlines are intentionally unobscured, creating a social atmosphere to see and be seen in. Potted plants and greenery add a lushness and further connection to the outdoors.Outside, on the greenery-lined terrace, a now iconic Bottero sculpture dominates the space. Grouping of residentially-inspired sofas, poufs and rattan seating is combined with low and mid-height tables providing options for groups to lounge and socialize.

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Moxy Times Square, New York

Compact rooms are fitted out with custom furniture, fixtures and clever built-in design details that maximize the utility and comfort of private spaces. The overall guest experience is one of high flexibility and technical adaptability. Yabu Pushelberg-designed furniture includes foldable tables, chairs and stools which can be flattened and hung on a wall-peg system around the room’s perimeter. The multi-purpose fold-away furniture provides endless configuration and personalization options, based on the guests needs, allowing each individual to experience the same room in new and different ways. The bathroom design is reminiscent of a varsity bathing experience – with ceramic tiles kitted with tongue-in-cheek wordplay spelled out in mosaic wall tiles. Sinks, placed outside all-glass enclosed wet- rooms, are custom glazed carved lava stone with integrated trays and fittings for personal products. The hand-wrought notion of craft and honest use of materials continuers within the private spaces. Warm wood-like vinyl floors are paired with painted bead-board walls that extend to a dado line punctuated with custom pegs. Custom wood-frame beds were engineered to maximize space and storage, detailed with a metal rail system slung with an oversized leather pillow in the place of a traditional headboard. Varying room types and configurations cater to the unique needs of youthful travelers, including lofted bunks, toe-to-toe doubles and cozy kings, among others.

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