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Q&A with Design Superhero Glenn Pushelberg

In this week’s “Q&A” column, we take a moment to speak to dynamic interior designer, Glenn Pushelberg of Yabu Pushelberg.

Yabu Pushelberg founders George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg

Founded in 1980 by George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, Yabu Pushelberg is an internationally celebrated firm with offices in New York City and Toronto. For almost thirty years, George and Glenn have created distinctive signature environments for a diverse and often high profile clientele within the specialized retail, hospitality, and restaurant sectors.

Yabu Pushelberg has been honored with being named by Town & Country magazine as two of the “101 People You Must Meet in 2011” and by Conde Nast Traveler magazine as the “Hot Interior Design Firm” of 2011, Platinum Circle Award, for their exceptional achievement in the hospitality industry, as well as, the James Beard Foundation award for excellence in Restaurant design. Partners George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg were named Designer of the Year by Contract magazine, and have been inducted into the Interior Design magazine Hall of Fame.

Glenn Pushelberg serves as the duo’s conduit between the client and the design team, managing new and existing relationships from a communications and business perspective. Glenn oversees project development from inception to completion, providing strategic consulting along the way.


Q: The development of hotel-branded residences is a major trend. Why do you think they are so appealing to homeowners?

A: Hotel branded residences are appealing to buyers these days who are looking for a higher standard of living, level of convenience and lifestyle identity that includes bragging rights. Luxuries such as valet parking, a personal butler and on-site restaurants and services are especially ideal for buyers seeking second or third homes – where a strong sense of security and carefree living secures their jet setting lifestyle.

Q: Which mixed-use hotel-residential developments have you worked on?

A: We have designed several hotel-residential developments including the St. Regis Bal Harbour, Four Seasons Shanghai Residences, Four Seasons Delhi, Four Seasons Mumbai and Four Seasons Bangalore.

Q: What is the hardest part of designing a mixed-use hotel-residential development?

A: In all honestly, we don’t find it to be difficult at all. We quite enjoy the challenge of designing for a broader audience, while still ensuring that we capture and convey the hotel brand’s overall identity. What’s ironic is that hotels are being designed to feel residential and residences are being designed to feel like hotels!

Q: What do you do differently in these properties than those with only hotels or residences?

A: Nothing differently. We may have to be more cognizant of some brand standards from an operational standpoint, but we definitely don’t change our approach.

Q: How do you instill aspects of the hotel brands in the residences?

A:  Instilling a ‘brand’ into a hotel or residence is intangible and more about the aura we create through design, detail and finishing of spaces. It is more about creating an ambiance and attitude that matches the hotel brand’s identity and what it represents rather than adding specific items or elements. It’s a fine balance which we truly enjoy achieving.

Q: What has been your favorite property to work on so far?

A: Four Seasons Shanghai.

Q: What are you working on next?

A: We are working on several Park Hyatt, Four Seasons, Thompson Hotels, Oberoi and Andaz developments  in over 15 countries currently.

Q: Where do you think the mixed-use hotel-residential trend is going?

A: The hotel-residential trend is growing strong in foreign countries such as China and India and countries where there is a lack of luxury housing options. A hotel-branded residence is viewed as a safe investment by discriminating local buyers and foreign investors who may be looking to move into these areas but who may be wary of the quality of the product.

Q: When travelling, what is your favorite hotel service/amenity?

A:  In Hong Kong, the Upper House’s incredible level of service is my favorite amenity. The efficiency of service and having your own personal butler is the ultimate in luxury.

Q: If you could own a residence at any hotel in the world, which would it be, and why?

A: Honestly, my personal preference is my very own bed in my own home surrounded by all the things I have chosen and love. No hotel could ever match that feeling.