We had the pleasure to chat with George and Glenn, international firms and co-founders of the Yabu Pushelberg studio. Their collaboration with Henge, born from a mutual attraction and a shared projectual philosophy, lead to the creation of successful collections and to a renewed willingness to experiment together. From the appreciation for details all the way to craftmanship and the strength and beauty of the natural world, a shared universe of values creates the foundations for the successful design of the duo and their vision.
How would you describe your own style?
Glenn: In terms of design, I see my approach as a mirror to the experience of climbing a mountain. You pack up your gear then begin on your journey up the mountain, where you gradually build a connection to your environment, a gradient of memories that reflect emotions at different check points, the drive to push yourself forward until you reach the top, where you overlook spectacular views while basking in earned accomplishment. At the peak of the mountain is a marriage of the rational and the intuitive, which effortlessly guides you back down the hill onto the next journey.
George: My style has a natural curiosity that is fluid and flexible. I feel most comfortable when I embrace where my eyes and notions naturally lead me. When speaking to design, I am not one to follow trends, however the more you know the better you can form your own idea. I like to look at trends to gain a better sense of what people are looking at. Watching, analyzing and moving forward, taking bits and pieces to remix into a new idea.
What does design mean to you, and what is your philosophy of creation?
Glenn: Good design enhances lives by being understanding, practical and serving a purpose. No fluff for the sake of fluff, intention through and through.
George: Quality design is relevant, posesses substance and speaks fluently to the needs at hand. Sometimes there is a lot of meaning behind a design, while other times there may not be, but design can spark thrill and curiosity. I believe it has the power to move things forward, broaden our mindset and inform the masses that it is possible to create a world we want to live in.
What inspirations drives you to begin developing new designs and products?
Glenn: The people we meet, the places we go - nothing is off limits and everything can spark imagination. The core of our work centers around our interest in people and learning about how they choose to live their lives. Understanding this only makes us better at what we do and is essential to understanding how to create experiences which resonate.
George: When you think of time, your mind may jump to a meeting you have later in the day or what you would like to make for dinner. Our minds have been calibrated to run on a hotel project schedule which is always 5-10 years into the future. Currently, our minds are living in 2030, and we are taking our time to understand the people, cultures, needs and passions of this period. By considering an expanse of time beyond the present, we can begin to craft a character study representative of future needs. The same approach is taken when we design furniture because it can take at least three years for an idea to come to life from its inception. What inspires us is the opportunity within the unknown.
George: Through the lens of observation, interaction and questioning how objects are used and how people live today, we remain curious and open-minded, making us better editors of our work. This makes us equipped to design products that make sense and serve a purpose. Our understanding of people and social aspects are reflected in our products, which is the true art of thoughtful design.
What is your relationship with material and craftsmanship?
George: I grew up watching my father build boats, a meticulous pro- cess that encompasses engineering and craftsmanship. I would observe how he interacted with his imported Japanese tools and use them to communicate with his materials. Meanwhile, my mother was a trained seamstress who looked at the world through engineering and industrial design principles. It was captivating to see the process behind a product and how material and craft intersect. Being immersed in these perspectives at such a young age allowed me to see how material and craft can move design forward.
The Henge brand is strongly tied to artisan production and to material enhancement and research. Will you talk about this collaboration? How did it come about?
George: When we began our partnership with Henge, it was essential to create a collection that spoke to their passion and intellect of craftsmanship. They are a team of artisans with a pursuit to shape quality materials into the hearts and lives of people around the world, all out of their home factory in Italy. Here, they fuse their knowledge and understanding of materials to craft bespoke products which possess lasting vigor, romance and substance.
Glenn: George and I were both born and raised in Canada, which is immersed in flora and fauna. We share our own individual memories as children in the forest, discovering and building our own unique relation- ships with nature. These memories sparked the initial idea behind both of our collections with Henge. It’s beauty, it’s grace, it’s nature personified.
George: Our second collection for Henge was deeply inspired by nature. We created a three-legged wooden chair named Noce inspired by the sculptural form of a tree. The Puddle tables are a series of brass and silver side tables that when placed together, create an abstract interpretation of a forest landscape. Each piece is handcrafted with the precision and patience of Henge’s team of experts in Italy.
Glenn: It was a thoughtful and challenging collection to execute. We always wanted to design a three-legged chair, but we wanted to do it right. It took us two years to master the proportions. Luckily, Henge has a resilient and creative team that could bring our visions to life. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome, and how we presented the collection at our New York studio 66 (white) and again in Milan.
Their collaboration with Henge, born from a mutual attraction and a shared projectual philosophy, lead to the creation of successful collections and to a renewed willingness to experiment together.