Design

Yabu Pushelberg Turns Drinking Glasses into Ceiling Lights

The Canadian designers celebrate two new collections with Lasvit.

According to George Yabu, it would be easy to pollute eight years of his firm’s work. One ugly glass is all it takes, he says. That’s why he and his partner, Glenn Pushelberg, who are famous for their hospitality spaces across the globe, took charge and ventured into product design. During May’s NYCxDesign the firm introduced Otto, a new glassware collection designed for the Czech glass-and-lighting manufacturer Lasvit. The crystal vessels—which include an array of glasses as well as a carafe and decanters—elegantly fuse short, heavy bases and delicate bowls in various sizes.

The Otto collection.

Pushelberg’s lighting designs for Lasvit resonate with a similar language. Introduced in April, at Salone del Mobile’s Euroluce exhibition in Milan, the Cipher collection features pendants derived from the glassware.

When Yabu and Pushelberg first conceptualized Cipher, their original light bulb design wasn’t translating quite right into fixtures—Yabu recalls light wasn’t traveling through the elongated tubes how they wanted. So, they changed direction.

“Using lighting, you’re painting surfaces like a painter,” he says. “If you don’t get the coloration or level right it can ruin an interior.” One day he held one of the Otto glasses up to a light. The etched lines in the crystal caught the light and carried it evenly to the cusp of the glass. By extracting the pinstripe effect to a family of tubes and spheroids (one resembling a squashed onion), the duo created Cipher. The lamp’s bulbs can attach to the fixture’s nodes in a horizontal or vertical direction, allowing the light emitted to transcend space — it’s equally fitting in a hotel lobby and inside a residential apartment.

The Cipher collection.
Detail of a pendant in the Cipher collection.

“We were on a quest to do something more intimate and on a smaller scale,” Yabu says of his firm’s product design projects. “Something that’s satisfying while we wait for our hotels to open.” Judging from the outcome of this recent Lasvit collection, Yabu and Pushelberg aren’t just keeping busy. They’ve treated both collections with the same kind of thought and skill they would dedicate to an eight-year hotel project.

(Photos courtesy Lasvit)

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