Yabu Pushelberg design studio in Canada

Yabu Pushelberg's head office has no private offices.  To encourage the exchange of ideas and develop the sense of community, the two leaders George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg of the award winning design agency in Toronto have used the USM Haller system to build an open and agile working environment. Everyone is now more approachable and in tune with the agency's day-to-day work, which has produced a number of prestigious projects, including the Park Hyatt New York and Miami Beach Edition hotels, and Lane Crawford in Shanghai.

For 23 years, Yabu Pushelberg had been housed in traditional offices in an unassuming, low-slung building in downtown Toronto. When their neighbours moved out, the studio seized the opportunity to expand and redesign.

Redecoration was a key part of the office update. Now the airy, white-walled 13,000-square-foot workplace feels wide and open, in-keeping with the firm’s reputation for designing spaces with a modern aesthetic and an “anything is possible” mentality.

Another element was the removal of private offices, even for Yabu and Pushelberg themselves. The old offices were repurposed into a variety of inspiring meeting spaces and boardrooms that are equipped with videoconferencing to connect easily with both clients and colleagues in other offices.

Each team also has their own dedicated meeting area, allowing them to all communicate together at a moment’s notice. These team meeting spaces are outfitted with USM Haller tables finished with clean white tabletops, Jacques Guillon Cord chairs and linen-wrapped posting panels for brainstorming sessions.

“It was an easy decision to use USM in our studio. There is a seriousness and a quietness to the design that we appreciate.”

- Yabu and Pushelberg

Other collaborative hubs have been built into the premises. One is the kitchen, fitted with four custom oversized picnic tables and benches from Dutch designer Marlieke Van Rossum. Another is the “salon,” where guests encounter an eclectic mix of furnishings, including Yabu Pushelberg–designed pieces, art collected over years of travel and designer table-tennis and table-football tables.

Each individual work area has also been redesigned to provide every employee with space and functionality. Every worker has a USM Haller workstation and a USM Haller rolling storage unit, both finished in pure white. The USM Haller furniture extends to each individual worker the adaptability that the firm is now enjoying at a wider level: sleek, customisable functionality, altered to suit emerging needs at a moment’s notice. The incorporation of USM pieces in the skylit studio is a dream come true for the designers. “We’ve always admired USM’s rational aesthetic,” say Yabu and Pushelberg. “As young designers in the seventies and eighties, we remember being aware of USM, but then, it seemed exotic, European and somehow unattainable.”

The result of the redesign is a pure, neutral space that encourages the exchange of ideas throughout the office. Yabu and Pushelberg have also found that the entire staff is more accessible and plugged in to the day-to-day activities of the studio - resources are now at staffers’ fingertips, information is transmitted faster and the entire office projects Yabu Pushelberg’s philosophy of a flat hierarchy. “Most importantly,” say Yabu and Pushelberg, “people are happier”.

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