Canadian designers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg are masters in designing luxury hotels, top level restaurants, bars and shops. In the Park Hyatt New York they used Tribù’s Botanic Loungers and Pure sofa armchairs. Leen Creve interviewed them about designing for interior ánd exterior.

What are you working on right now?

George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg: “Many things! We have projects in 15 countries. There are a lot of hotel projects including a few Park Hyatt hotels in Asia. We’re excited that most of these new projects are allowing us to take more risks and think beyond interiors.”

How do you provide for an interesting interaction between in- and outdoor in one same project?

Ideally, all of our projects would allow for a seamless flow of interior and exterior space. However, this is usually best achieved in tropical climates like Miami. Places like Canada can be a challenging climate for creating an indoor vs. outdoor dynamic, but there are some creative ways around this. For instance, we live in a natural forest in the core of the city of Toronto. The front of the house fits contextually into the rest of the neighborhood, but the back was designed to be completely transparent and embraces the natural forest environment, so much so that it becomes part of the living space.

Do you design outdoor spaces differently than interior spaces ?

 “We treat exterior spaces almost like rooms. In interiors there’s a notion of how you move from room to room, and we feel the exterior functions the same way. Sometimes you express that transition between spaces very dramatically, and other times you just allow the spaces to slide into one another; it all depends on the concept of the project. With respect to the Miami Edition, the exterior was thought of as a theater that you progressively step down into. You start from the upper level where you dine, drop down to a bar level, and lastly a pool level. In the end, it’s all about the natural transition of spaces, wither outside or inside.”

You used the Botanic loungers from Tribù in the Miami Edition and in the Park Hyatt New York. How did you get in contact with this belgian brand ?

“We went to a furniture fair in Cologne with our friend Stephan of  Avenue Road, and he introduced us to Tribù. We not only thought they produced well-made furniture, but they’re a great company with a great line of product that’s constantly reinventing itself. It’s not a singular style – They have a very broad stylistic range, but all of the designs can be easily mixed.”

Which Tribù furniture are your favourites ?

We find the rawness of the Bird Collection – the combination of simple and honest materials and make the collection very desirable. We love the new Tosca collection, however we haven’t had a chance to use it in any of our projects to date. And the Forum loungers have very attractive strong lines. ”

Did you ever design outdoor furniture yourself? 
We are keen to do so. We haven’t produced anything but we’ve been doodling and we have a number of ideas. What we find is that a lot of outdoor furniture, especially within luxury hotels, is very generic looking and there is a need for something that’s modern with a romantic appeal to it.  Currently, we’ve been inspired by French wire wrought furniture from the 40’s and 50’s. We think there’s something in the essence of that kind of outdoor furniture of that can be modernized.