Attendees at this weekend's ASID National Student Summit ended their jam-packed week of industry programming on quite the high note. The students were treated to a keynote discussion with parters George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg of Yabu Pushelberg, led by Interior Design Editor-in-Chief Cindy Allen.
To prime the eager audience for the forthcoming discussion with such established industry talent, Cindy used her introduction to impress upon the designers-to-be the importance of knowing and researching the work of established designers. The ability to articulate whose design prowess has inspired the students' own creative process was a key takeaway from Cindy to those in attendance. She seized the opportunity to share how much she admires the work of her longtime friends Yabu and Pushelberg to kick off the discussion of the duo's careers.
The Toronto-based firm most recently made the Best of Year issue of Interior Design with the striking staircase that was part of its design for the Four Seasons Kuwait, which graces the issue's cover. Cindy began the discussion by asking the two to share with the students how they commissioned their studio's most recognizable projects: Club Monaco, Bergdorf Goodman, Carolina Herrera and the Waikiki EDITION (which has since been rebranded as The Modern Honolulu).
Yabu and Pushelberg went on to share how they developed the design concepts for each project, and candidly discussed the experience of working with each client. Cindy transitioned the duo's discussion from their current work to their roots, starting with their undergrad years at Ryerson University. After graduation, Yabu and Pushelberg worked separately on their own projects for a time—ultimately coming together and starting their own studio without ever having worked for another firm. True design wunderkinds, their first project was a restaurant that earned a James Beard award for its design. The award in turn led to career-launching commissions from Barry Sternlicht for the W Hotel Times Square and a commission from Isadore Sharp for a Four Seasons Hotel.