Book List of the Week

The Book Lists of George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg: Interior Stories

By Steve Kroeter December 2, 2013
George Yabu, interior designer: Yabu Pushelberg (Toronto and New York)
View George Yabu’s Book List
Glenn Pushelberg, interior designer: Yabu Pushelberg (Toronto and New York)
View Glenn Pushelberg’s Book List

The award-winning Toronto and New York-based interior designers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg share a love of books as well as a creative life together. The team has been inducted into Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame and widely honored for its retail, restaurant, and hospitality designs for clients including restaurateurs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Daniel Boulud, hotelier Ian Schrager, and luxury fashion retailers Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, and Louis Vuitton. Both partners favor books that provide visual and delight and intrigue and are also thought-provoking.

About the titles on his list for Designers & Books, Yabu notes: “I often take something interesting and new away from each of them, whether a new way of at looking at things, or an anecdote to apply to life.” Pushelberg remarks similarly: “My selection represents a mix of books that I keep coming back to and refer to often whether in life, or at work.”

One of the books that finds its way to work is Lawrence Wechsler’s study of artist Robert Irwin, Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees.  “We have several copies in the studio and I encourage everyone in our office to read this book,” says Glenn Pushelberg, who put the book on his list. “It’s a good guide for any creative mind to read and digest—and can help hone one’s creative process by focusing attention on the approach itself.” George Yabu takes work inspiration from Leonard Koren’s Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, commenting, “What I love about this simple book is the philosophical exploration of beauty in impermanence and imperfection. I've always strived to attain the opposite in our work and I know I see the beauty in almost everything seen or unseen.” Yabu’s list also includes Brian Brace Taylor’s book on the designs of Sri Lanka-born architect Geoffrey Bawa, whose work “effortlessly emphasizes nature at its beautiful potential.”

Stories—both fictional and “real”—have a place on both partners’ book lists. Pushelberg is drawn (like architect Galia Solomonff and graphic designer Rudy VanderLans, also on Designers & Books) to Patti Smith’s Just Kids, which he describes as  “a gentle memoir of the genuine respect and love Patti Smith felt for Robert Mapplethorpe’s wild unrelenting creative psyche and ability to push boundaries that remain iconic and inspiring.”  And Yabu thinks that Dostoyevksy’s Crime and Punishment is a “classic must-read for everyone regardless of industry or field of work.”

George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg. Photo courtesy of Yabu Pushelberg
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