If you’ve been spending a lot of time at the Four Seasons’ Jean-Georges Philadelphia, then you’re likely to have noticed the beautiful wooden bread bowls and small plates that cradle Vongerichten’s delicacies. The face behind these nature-inspired pieces is John Luttmann, owner and designer of Artifaqt (15 S. Main St., Phoenixville, artifaqt.com). Here, he talks about his inspiration and career highlights.
What is your inspiration?
I’ve been to the Wharton Esherick Museum no less than 50 times in my life. He has this wonderful kitchen where he made all his own serveware... these organic, free-flowing pieces made with glorious hardwoods. I’m also particularly fond and in awe of Japanese culture and design.
When was your “I made it” moment?
The day I walked into Le Bernardin. Eric Ripert came in with three or four of his sous-chefs, and we spent an hour-and-a-half together. I made two wooden pieces for him, which he was immediately attracted to—he pulled one up to his chest and was rubbing it and asked me if they were dishwasher-safe. They weren’t. He said, ‘If you can get these to go in the dishwasher, you can retire today.’ He called me the next day and said that we could develop a collection together.
What is your bestselling piece?
The 26-inch long board wide limited edition. It is limited by availability of the quarter-sawn black walnut with fiddleback grain pattern. We have a standing order for this to be pulled aside for us when the mill is grading walnut. Metalwise, our bestselling piece is the splitwood square in black anodized coating. It’s always fun to see metal mistaken for ceramic or stone.