When George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg were design students together at Ryerson Polytechnic in Toronto, they never dreamed they would one day become partners in one of the most sought-after commercial and residential interior design firms. They had a chance meeting in the streets one day and decided to share office space and costs.
Yabu’s residential design business and Pushelberg’s commercial business eventually melded into a formidable whole, and Yabu Pushelberg has been the force behind huge design projects for companies like Prada, Carolina Herrera, Louis Vuitton, Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and Lane Crawford.
Let’s distill some of this New York/Toronto firm’s biggest design principles into design tips for your home.
Add installation artwork to your interior design scheme. This is one of the hallmarks of Yabu Pushelberg projects. They always use independent artisans to try to bridge the gap between straight interior design and the handmade. Use this tip as a way to avoid creating a sterile home design. Hire local craftspeople to make unusual cabinetry and built-ins. Transform plain windows into modern stained glass marvels with the help of a local craftsman. Use the skills and designs of a blacksmith or metalworker to fashion an unusual stairway railings and door hardware.
Experiment with materials, processes, and design ideas. George Yabu, the design side of the firm, calls each of his projects a work in process and a living laboratory for design. What if you looked at your home design projects a bit more “out of the box,” and instead of thinking what would make my home look like every single one of my neighbors’ homes, think what you could do with your remodeling or renovation project to make your home look different and function more dramatically. We encourage you to be much more playful with your interior design and the use of materials. Here’s an example: Create much more interest by using a stylish sculptural wallboard like B&N Industries Iconic Panels versus the usual flat wallboard.
Layer your rooms with pattern, texture, and clean lines. The interiors from Yabu Pushelberg all do a great job of what we refer to in the design business as “layering.” First of all, the “bones” of their space are solid, like anchoring a bay of windows as the focal point for a room and arranging the ductwork and other mechanicals in ways that don’t unnecessarily intrude into the space. Then they add basic furnishings in groupings that maximize space use and interaction. This is followed by the addition of layered elements like rugs, window and wall treatments, fine art, unusual accessories, and linens and soft goods to turn each space into a comfortable, spacious, relaxing jewel box.
Check out the Bennington Heights (Toronto) residential design that Yabu Pushelberg completed to get some great ideas for clean, layered, multi-faceted design for your home or apartment.
Yabu Pushelberg Sampler