How I Travel: Yabu Pushelberg

The iconic design duo describe their sanity checks for a weekly flying schedule.

Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu

Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu are the world-renowned designers behind Yabu Pushelberg. Since launching in Toronto forty years ago, they have created some of the world's most iconic commercial, residential and retail spaces, from Park Hyatt New York to Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, and the soon-to-be-launched Rosewood Guangzhou, the tallest 5-star hotel in the world. They also recently designed the iconic second Raffles hotel location in its home of Singapore and are currently working on projects in Japan, Doha, LA, New York and Paris.

Yabu Pushelberg has organically grown from a traditional interior design studio into a global creative agency but, as the pair are the first to admit, it means working tirelessly and they still travel every week between projects. Here they describe their tactics to allow for maximum productivity, whilst staying healthy.

Where did you last travel to and why?

Our travels brought us around the world at the end of last year. We started in Milan to see furniture prototypes for Salone, then went to Vietnam for vacation, as we’d never been before. Part of the trip included a visit to a semi-deserted island just off Saigon, followed by a final stop in Bangkok for endless drinks and dinner and fun with friends in celebration of the new year.

How often do you travel?

We’re in constant motion, traveling weekly.

Do you enjoy it?

We like it because we have friends and family in all different parts of the world, so we’re able to combine work and pleasure, which makes it enjoyable.

What five essentials do you always take with you onboard?

Slippers, chocolate, The Slowdown podcast, Korean face masks and sketchbook + pen.

How do you stay healthy on the flight?

Lots of sleep and water, with everything else in moderation. We’re practicing modified keto along with intermittent fasting and have found eating clean goes a long way toward feeling good.

Do you have tactics for how to avoid jetlag?

If we’re traveling overseas, we stay up the night before, then sleep as much as possible on the plane so that we’re mentally clear and physically able when we arrive. Sweats are our long-haul uniform.

Do you relax or work onboard?

We always bring a few newspapers on board to know what’s going on around the world, then usually watch the same movie together so the flight isn’t so isolating.

Do you go for meetings straight away or need to chill?

We hit the ground running.

What is the best airport and why?

Munich is the most efficient. We love Hong Kong and Osaka and find Helsinki to be the most interesting – there are always unique things to buy and experience.

Which is your favourite city to visit and why?

There can’t be just one! At the moment, Mexico City and Tokyo.

Which hotel do you usually stay in there and why?

In Mexico City we stay at Las Alcobas. It is of our studio’s design, which makes it feel like home, and we especially love the hotel manager – his passion always adds to our stay.


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