Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu, founders of design firm Yabu Pushelberg, tell us about their latest projects and what really makes their partnership work
Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu first met in school in 1972—eight years later, they co-founded Yabu Pushelberg, one of the biggest design firms based out of New York and Toronto. As partners in work and life, a lot of their studio’s success is attributed to their creative synergy and their ability to navigate a changing design landscape. In New York for a first-hand look at Moxy NYC Times Square and the soon-to-launch Moxy Hotel Chelsea in the Flower district, we talk to the power duo about their inspiration behind designing living spaces for this millennial-geared hotel brand.
LEFT TO RIGHT
The lobby lounge of Moxy NYC Times Square; the Mondo suite of Moxy Chelsea; George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg of Yabu Pushelberg; the King bedroom of Moxy NYC Times Square
What are some considerations that you have when designing a hotel?
As designers, our aim is to create environments that make people pause and have a sensory experience. To achieve that, understanding the guests’ state of mind is key to designing the right space for them. The subtleties of connected details and sympathetic use of materials and motifs throughout help to connect spaces and weave a narrative.
Understanding the holistic story is an important notion that informs how we build, design and decorate environments. We ask ourselves how guests would move between spaces throughout the property, interact with their surroundings, socialise and relax to create a holistic vision. The fun part is bringing this vision to life and experiencing these moments ourselves.
What were the biggest challenges you faced while working on the Moxy properties?
When we started the project, it was positioned as a micro hotel for millennials, a strategy which worked for the brand in Europe. The challenge was to reinvent this concept for the North American market—it was fun to imagine a new type of hotel room designed for people with a certain nomadic mindset. We took inspiration from early Puritan design—the utilitarian simplicity of this aesthetic and the notion of ‘ur ban camping’. We looked for ways to put a modern twist t o make our design current, youthful and portable. The interesting part that came from this vision was creating a host of adaptable furnishings to make the most of the compact space, including custom-made chairs and tables designed to fold away and hang from wooden wall pegs.