Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen capped off the week with an afternoon conversation with two close colleagues, Interior Design Hall of Fame members George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg. The two joined Cindy from their home in Toronto, Ontario, Canada—a city known for its international population—making it an ideal location for their Yabu Pushelberg headquarters, considering the design firm has projects and clients all over the world.
"We do what we can in our own little community and in our bigger community" Pushelberg said, in reference to how he and Yabu are responding to the ongoing pandemic. The two have been prioritizing care in this time, for their "flock" of employees and the greater good. Having contacts across the globe, they continue to bring in work as some countries and cities, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, return to office-life. The firm's administration staff also has played a vital role in its efforts to help the community with, for example, sourcing material to make face masks that can worn in-hospital. In this way, Yabu Pushelberg is able to maintain employment for its staff and work in ways, albeit constricted, to move design forward, including projects with legacy companies in Italy.
Understanding the pandemic is impacting us all, communication has been "more humanistic than business driven," the pair said, making decisions easier to sort out. Continuing on with their positive attitude, the duo noted that they are excited to run "out of the gate" once it's safe to resume business as usual. During the conversation, Allen also touched on Departo, the pair's line of flat-packed furniture designed for everyday life. Part of the Yabu Pushelberg ethos is that leadership lives and projects the firm's values. "You don't have to spend a lot for good design," Pushelberg said, sharing the inspiration for this collection—that and wanting to produce furniture that doesn't weigh a ton.
Although the three creatives could not share physical hugs, they were thankful for the opportunity to connect from afar. Yabu and Pushelberg, who traveled significantly less than they usual do during the last month, plan on staying put more often in the future to reduce their carbon footprint and take care of the planet. "Show someone the sunlight" Pushelberg said, optimistic about the social changes that will come to form this moment.