Classic yet fresh. Contemporary yet warm. For some 30 years, the design firm of Yabu Pushelberg has been creating outstanding interiors for everything from hotels to retail spaces and beyond. Furnishings, too, have their role in the Yabu Pushelberg portfolio—capturing the same effortless feel that their interiors do. Most recently, George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg teamed again with the Toronto-based Avenue Road to introduce seven new designs, inspired by locations around the world.
Entries in architecture (53)
Yesterday we profiled Herb Nadel, the founder, and until just a month or so ago, the sole owner of Nadel Architects. He discussed the genesis of the firm’s ownership transition. Today, we speak to two of his new partners, Patrick Winters and Greg Lyon about the firm’s future. From the sounds of it, it couldn’t be brighter.
For the new partners at Nadel Architects, the timing of their ownership transition couldn’t have come at a better time. “Future generations will look back and see a paradigm shift,” says Patrick Winters, one of the freshly minted owners of Nadel Architects. “In Los Angeles, we’ve moved from postwar suburban sprawl to urban densification. There’s residential mixed with retail, high rise residential, live/work housing.”
You’ve grown your business from scratch, seen success, but what now? For solo practitioners, it’s a nagging question. Whether or not you’re close to retirement, what happens to your firm? Does it disappear? How does it carry on without you? Today we begin explore ownership transitions and one firm’s experience. We start with a conversation with its founder; the second part will focus on the new team in place and their plans for the firm’s next chapter.
Nadel Architects’ creation story starts out as so many often do: A talented young person starts a company out of a house. In this case, the year is 1973, and the house is just outside Los Angeles. Through hard work, patience and skill, the founder, Herb Nadel, expands the business, transforming it into a highly regarded practice with a robust portfolio of local and international projects—everything from stadiums in China to hotels in Los Angeles and Chicago.
A couple of weeks back, we introduced you to architect Nathan Lee Colkitt and his work on the PUMA store in New York's SoHo district. Besides his work for PUMA, Colkitt, who founded his own practice in 2006, has made a name for himself designng retail, restaurant and residential projects. He's back here at formmag.net—this time with answers to some of our burning questions. And he's got one for you: Where do you go for barbecue?
What direction do you see the profession heading?
I try not to think about design or architecture as a profession. The term “profession” seems too dogmatic for how fast society, information and the economy are rapidly changing today. Professions are a dated paradigm from the 20th century. The question is: who are the individuals and groups creating and shaping the foundation of this century? Never before has information and communication been so powerful and ubiquitous, and yet simultaneously so meaningless. We see a world based on a paradigm of mass localization. A concept of local contextualization not based on geography, but by social networks and relationships. Overall, I see innovation that impacts lives as the core of our business model and the direction of the future.
What buildings inspire you?
The Seattle Public Library, Kimbell Art Museum, and the Cartier Foundation in Paris are great examples of buildings that are socially and contextually relevant. Personally, I think these buildings function on so many levels that it makes me want to cry with joy! How can these places shine and be deferential, all in one fell swoop? To me this is the highest calling; to be a distinguished icon with grace and deference to what is all around.
Where else do you find inspiration?
I used to look outward at philosophy, critical theor, and theoretical science for inspiration. Now I look inward, even to the most mundane, pedestrian and primal entities and callings in life. I like to ask, “How even did you come into being?” or “What manifested you?” as the answer often lies within these items.
What are your three favorite objects?
The chair, the chair and the chair. The moment between reclination and supplication. Designers will never stop trying to put their signature on this moment.
What do you collect (furniture, records, t-shirts, etc.)?
I stopped collecting so that I can better live in the ever-present. Now, I’m completely schizophrenic and don’t have to worry about being sentimental. I used to collect chairs and vinyl. I had an audiophile with Eames coming out my ears but, it’s debilitating for a designer to collect things. You can never be truly present if you’re a collector. It’s not possible to be a collector and designer in the same body, unless you have a split personality.
Who are some of your favorite young architects?
If you could live anywhere, where it would it be (a location or specific structure)?
To follow in the footsteps of Brendon Grimshaw.
A decade from now, what trends will be cringeworthy?
That’s easy . . . reclaimed wood.
What currents trends will stand the test of time?
Isn’t that an oxymoron? Like military intelligence? We think sustainability is not a trend in the sense that energy has always ruled our lives. As we go through an energy transition, how we consume as a culture has an effect on design. This awareness cannot be forgotten.
10. Color—yes or no?
No question; color is our lifeblood. Without color I would not have a pulse.
11. What are you reading?
Maurice Blanchot, The Infinite Conversation. I also enjoy to travel and love picking up local periodicals to see where real people eat, drink and play.
12. What are you wearing?
Common Projects. The best thing since sliced bread.
13. What are you eating?
I love beef rib BBQ. Do you know any good spots in your neighborhood?
14. Do you listen to music while you're working?
I stopped listening to music. I find it distracting while working.
15. Are you a sketcher or a computer person?
Sketching is so much more fun and kinetic. It’s hard to imagine the ballet without a pen in hand.
16. Social media—yes or no?
Yes, but it is addicting, is it not?
Your ideas are great. Your projects are spectacular. But, when it comes to the nuts and bolts of running a business—any kind of business—all of us can always use a little guidance. From marketing and public relations to intellectural property and employment law to human resources and finance, maintaining and growing a successful firm means a lot of moving parts. We're pleased to present the first in a series of conversations with experts outside of architecture and design whom we've asked to weigh in with tips, suggestions and ideas on the ingredients that go into a building a thriving practice. Our hope is that each one will get you thinking big and strategically.