Rise Endo, Design Team Leader, Yabu Pushelberg

Posted in News, People on 15 July, 2019

SPACE Editor Can Faik gets personal in a 5-minutes-with interview with Yabu Pushelberg’s Design Team Leader, Rise Endo…

Tell me about your role at Yabu Pushelberg
I’ve been at Yabu Pushelberg for 12 years now and through every trip and every project, I have been able to become a stronger designer, thinker and most importantly, a relatable human being. I lead and mentor a team of ten talented, thoughtful international designers. We design a wide array of project types, from world-class hospitality experiences to innovative retail to re-imagining the future of evolved city dwelling.
The life of a team leader at Yabu Pushelberg dramatically varies on the day (chuckles). Sometimes I start my day taking the subway to work while other days I’m on a plane to Tokyo for a site visit. While no two days are the exactly same, what is always a constant is the ability to work with brilliant, talented people from around the world that keep me learning and growing. We are also big believers in extra-large cups of coffee (or tea if you prefer).
As a team leader, it’s important that I cultivate an environment where everyone feels they have a voice and all ideas are welcomed. I spend considerable time making sure we have a strong working rhythm that allows the team to be as effective as possible, encouraging collaboration. We create unimaginable experiences that will live in all parts of the world.

What projects are you currently working on?
We have a lot of exciting projects on the go right now! We’re balancing the fun across New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Israel, London, and Tokyo. Most projects are resorts and hotels, but we also have a few luxury living projects. What’s so exciting about this time at YP is, we aren’t strictly completing the interiors (my team’s side) but we have expanded our passion in designing products, lighting, landscaping, and architecture. All our teams often bounce ideas off one another. It’s really cool to see and be a part of.

How important is the journey when it comes to designing a new hotel?
The Yabu Pushelberg process always begins with George and Glenn and the team coming together for a conversation. We talk about the brand we’re working with; where they are now and where we can take them. We think about the guest – who they are, what they want and how they feel in relation to what we are working on and create idealistic character studies. The character study is our process, the person or peoples we create become the core of the design. We give the project a personality by visualising what sunglasses they wear, their perfume, the car they drive right down to unique details that make them feel tangible. This exercise also helps us come across the issues involved in a project and resolve them early on.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Hands down the ability to work with others. From bouncing off ideas with George and Glenn and my team to collaborating with clients and artisans from around the world. People say you become what you surround yourself with, and I think Yabu Pushelberg has encouraged me to be more curious, adventurous and engaged.

Have you noticed any particular trends within hotel design?
A trend I’ve noticed in hotels is the evolution of how they are dressed up. Historically, to be a luxury hotel, it had to wear a button-down dress shirt. In recent years, I’ve seen a gradual shift to a more relaxed, free-flowing fit. People now want a more casual, calm, relaxed environment that still holds the same quality as the button-down shirt, if not more, but in a more subtle, relaxed way. A huge change in attitude.

How important are public spaces in hotels?
Crucial. We believe hotel experiences begin before you even arrive through the door. Public spaces, no matter if it’s in a hotel or a museum, need to effortlessly unfold in front of you while maintaining the anticipation factor. In the case of a hotel, they completely set the tone, informing guests of the mood, attitude and whether it’s a place they want to explore deep into their evening or decide it’s a snooze fest and move onto somewhere else.

How many meetings do you attended each week?
We are constantly in meetings, it’s the best gateway to direct communication with the team and our clients. It keeps everyone on the same page and the projects moving on the right foot.

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