interview | glenn pushelberg

From Manhattan to Mumbai, Glenn Pushelberg’s design firm – Yabu Pushelberg – has spent the last 30 years creating stunning interiors for a staggering amount of clients in the hotel, restaurant and retail industries. I met him at an event at The Room at the Bay (yes, his firm did redesign the space for their 2009 launch) and got to ask a few questions about his frequent flyer status.

How often do you travel for business?
At least twice a week.  I split my time between our Toronto and New York studios, plus overseas travel for our projects outside North America.

Tell me about your current hotel and restaurant projects and where they are taking you.
Park Hyatt, New York
Park Hyatt, Hangzhou, China
Park Hyatt, Bangkok
Park Hyatt, Los Cabos
Hyatt Regency, Alya Marina, Jordan
Grand Hyatt, Rio de Janeiro
Four Seasons, Toronto
Four Seasons, Delhi
Mandarin Oriental, Mumbai
St. Regis, Bal Harbor, Florida
The Bay, Yorkdale, Toronto
Shinsagae department store, Seoul
Lane Crawford, Shanghai
W Hotel, Guangzhou
Waldorf Astoria, Beijing
Ian Schrager’s Edition Hotels in Miami and London
Roosevelt Hotel, LA
Public Hotel, Chicago (pictured)

Since your home bases are NYC and Toronto, what’s the one place or thing that you’d tell visitors that they must see or do in each city?
Eat: Bar Fedora on 4th street is the quintessential New York restaurant.  The owner is formerly of Little Owl.  The food is delicious and the room interior is original pre-prohibition NYC.  It’s fantastic.
See: Wandering the streets and people watching… I particularly like to do this in the West Village.

Eat: Toronto’s great ethnic restaurants, of course. Hiro has some of the finest sushi outside of Japan and I go to Biryani House for Indian.
Do: Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods, which are best explored on foot or by bixi bike. Editor’s note:  Cabbagetown is especially lovely this time of year.

Where do you go for a real vacation?
We have a little house in Miami, where we relax with friends and cook great food.

If you could travel with any historical or contemporary icon, who would it be and where would you go?
Arthur Erickson. The famous Canadian architect lived a very glamourous life in the 80s.  He traveled with Princess Di, and went to the Middle East before travel there was established. He had a home in Malibu, and just lived this great life that I have always admired.

Where did you have the best meal ever?
I was in Shanghai and went to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant.  We are neighbours in New York and have worked together before.  He cooked us one of the most incredible meals I’ve ever had.  It was numerous courses and started with caviar in an egg shell, and ending with a chocolate egg with a yolk pudding. The whole experience was unforgettable.

Illustration by Homer Jolly