I was leafing through the most recent copy of Metropolis Magazine when I came across an article about a fabulous new restaurant in Philadelphia: Mark Vetri’s Amis Trattoria. The reason for my interest (aside from being an absolute fan of great food ) is the fact that we provided the Ingo Maurer Campari Lights for the restaurant.Will have to make a trip to Philadelphia to visit the place!!
“Marc Vetri, one of Philadelphia’s most celebrated chefs, had a somewhat atypical goal in mind when he sat down with the architect Michael Gruber to plan Amis, his newest addition to the local food scene. “I really wanted to create a neighborhood gathering place, a social space,” Vetri says.
Located in an old factory due east of Rittenhouse Square, the 90-seat restaurant has the look, and the slightly worn patina, of a place that’s been around for decades, instead of months. “The typical trattoria is very undesigned,” says Gruber, a principal at Jagr: Projects. “We don’t know how to do anything with no design what-soever, so what we worked for was something that wasn’t overwrought.”
Amis is a collage of the reclaimed and repurposed. “The building itself
is an old warehouse,” says Gruber, who had previously collaborated with Vetri on the restaurant Osteria. “The concrete, cement, and original windows were all retained. The artwork is old industrial molds that we found. Some of the lighting fixtures we got from architectural salvage yards. The communal tables are scraps of wood from a cabinetmaker’s shop that we glued together into butcher block.”
The restaurant’s spatial cues—clear sight lines, a wide bar suitable for dining, communal tables, and an open, convivial kitchen—all contribute to the social atmosphere. “Certain restaurants are like coffee shops,” Vetri says. “You don’t really go to a coffee shop for coffee. You go to hang out, to meet people. They’re about creating community. Recently, I think, restaurants have taken on that role.” —Martin C. Pedersen