Last summer we took a drive up the Hudson River to Dobbs Ferry to visit the studio and showroom of Luteca, a New York and Mexico City based furniture company producing contemporary and modernist designs inspired by the rich legacies of Mexico and Latin America. Founded in 2015 by Amanda Price Reant and her husband Sebastian Réant, Luteca has firmly established itself as a leading manufacturer of beautifully crafted and distinctly international design.
Luteca has created a unique aesthetic by implementing Mexico’s artisanal, range of handcraft tradition, like metalwork and glassware to silversmithing and leatherwork, into their designs. The use of raw materials, a complex manufacturing process and traditional joinery techniques, is what creates an unexpected dynamic mix of past and present influence in each carefully constructed piece. With the aim to introduce modern and contemporary Mexican designs to the US market, minimalist silhouettes are injected with tenets of Mexican craft, like woven seats and slat backs for chairs.
Ronen Lev: What inspired you to create Luteca? Given that your work is so deeply inspired by Mexico and Latin America, how and why did you choose to set up shop in New York?
LUTECA: It was always our intention to have an American design brand. Our goal was to bring something entirely unique to the American interior design market, something they might not otherwise had have the opportunity to experience. There was no question that our headquarters would be in New York. It’s also where we live!
RL: How is your business divided between New York and Mexico City? Do you travel back and forth a lot?
L: We’ve travelled to CDMX regularly since we started the company, but the reasons have changed. When we started the company, our intention was not to sell in Mexico City, just to produce. We thought they would already be very familiar with the classics and perhaps it wouldn’t be interesting. Quite the opposite. Our success in producing beautiful quality and reimagining iconic Mexican pieces that had been largely forgotten has created such an interest that we’ve now opened a showroom in Mexico City. Sebastian is there every 4-6 weeks to see clients, check on the showroom and visit the factory we just acquired.
RL: Can you please tell us a bit about the state of contemporary furniture in Mexico? How are designers like you making tradition relevant and modern?
L: I think designers in Mexico have access to incredible craft and really interesting materials that might not be available here, such as volcanic stone, concrete and weaving. Those manufacturing techniques combined with the interesting way to use materials is the starting point for some really interesting design.
RL: How does Mexico’s artisanal, handcraft traditions inspire what you design and produce?
L: For the most part, it’s about injecting elements of craft into our pieces that are entirely unique to Mexico.
RL: Do you have a favorite piece in the collection?
L: Michael van Beuren’s San Miguelito Armchair, Sebastian: Jorge Ibarra’s Dorcia Daybed
RL: What are some of your favorite places to travel to?
L: We met in California, so there’s always something special about being back there together; Malibu, Point Dume and the Coral Casino Club in Montecito are al favorites. Todos Santos in Baja California is a magical “local” place we love to go and Arcachon in the South West of France is where we vacation. Oh and of course, we love Mexico City, which is amazing. We have three kids under six though, so with all the traveling for Luteca, one of the best places to be is home!
RL: Where should a design-obsessed New Yorker visiting Mexico City be sure to go/do/see?
L: Museum of Antropology, Anahuacalli Museum, Casa Barragan, Casa Pedregal are all fantastic. The food and people are also incredible and just being part of the city is inspiring… Groupo Habita’s Condessa DF is lovely. Lunch at Contramar, dinner at Maximo, (Amanda also loves the design of Havre 77 in La Juarez near our showroom too), Maison Artemisia for cocktails.
RL: What is your dream project?
L: Goodness… hard question. I don’t think there is a dream project, only dream people that we love working with. A modern hotel in a historic building in Cuba would be cool.
RL: What’s next for Luteca?
L: A showroom in NY is top of the priority list right now.