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HENNESSY X.O UNVEILS A DARING COLLABORATION BETWEEN FRANK GEHRY AND BACCARAT FOR A MATHUSALEM MASTERPIECE

HENNESSY X.O UNVEILS A DARING COLLABORATION BETWEEN FRANK GEHRY AND BACCARAT FOR A MATHUSALEM MASTERPIECE

Thirty unique Mathusalem sculptural decanters entirely handmade at the famed Baccarat factory will be available this October.

Hennessy, the world’s best-selling Cognac, is proud to release an exclusive Mathusalem sculptural masterpiece designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, marking the first time one of his designs is brought to life by Baccarat. After creating 150 limited-edition decanters for Hennessy X.O’s 150th anniversary in 2020, the prolific creator has once again collaborated with Hennessy Maison to design 30 never-to-be-repeated masterpieces, marrying his impressive and daring style with the greatness of Hennessy’s Extra Old Cognac.

“The legendary Frank Gehry’s daring creative vision was one that could only be brought to life by the most talented craftsmen of their kind, the artisans of Baccarat. This, coupled with the legacy of the Hennessy Maison, has resulted in a limited edition of thirty stunningly unique sculptures that prove to be more than just a decanter,” said Laurent Boillot, Hennessy President and Chief Executive Officer. “This design takes Frank Gehry’s signature sculptural style, Baccarat’s know-how, and Hennessy’s daring sensibilities to the next level. With crystal expertly carved in a way that mimics the look of the classic serve of Hennessy X.O over ice, something that provided inspiration to Gehry during the design process, this sculptural masterpiece showcases the richness of the spirit while paying homage to the craftsmanship that goes into making this exquisite product.”

Realized by the luxury French brand Baccarat, the art pieces are the result of a unique savoir-faire combined with the endless creativity of Frank Gehry. The monumental 6-liter Mathusalem decanter emerges in a powerful and daring posture that elicits imagery of melting ice punctuated by the rich color of Cognac Hennessy X.O.

For Frank Gehry, whose passion for the movement of light is at the heart of this new creation, eliciting emotion from those who see his masterpieces signifies the ultimate success. “I actually cried when I saw it, so I hope that it elecits the same emotional response in others who see it maybe because they’ve never seen anything like this,” the world-renowned architect said when speaking about the Mathusalem he designed. “To me, it’s exciting to see something that pushes the boundaries, that has never been done before. I hope what we’ve created lives up to the same passion and craftsmanship that the makers of Hennessy in Cognac put into their product.”

Inspired by a visit to Cognac and the craftsmanship that goes into the making of Cognac Hennessy X.O, Frank Gehry’s striking creation leverages the unique know-how of the Baccarat artisans, handed down from generation to generation since 1764 – a legacy that dates as far back as Maison Hennessy, founded in 1765 -to bring to life his vision that reflects the vitality of the vineyards, the waters of the Charente River running through Cognac, the richness of the Hennessy X.O blend and the ice that it is so well paired with.

When the teams of the manufacture received the design of the monumental bottle, they discovered the incredible challenge given by Frank Gehry. The design and the dimensions of this unique creation presented rare technical complexities which required thirty individual molds to create each unique sculpture. For the craftsmen of Baccarat, holders of unique know-how, no feat is impossible and they were determined to respect the original design and took much pride in working with one of the greatest architects in the world. In close collaboration with Maison Hennessy, real teamwork ensued. From preliminary sketches to the first molds, from the creation of the rocks to the final cut, each step illustrates Baccarat’s excellence, innovation, and creativity. The making of the bottle required the implementation of new techniques, the creation of specific tools and adapted thermal cycles. Several months were needed to shape this sculptural work whose organic and powerful form incorporates the key elements of Baccarat: earth, water, air, fire.

 

The Hennessy X.O Mathusalem by Frank Gehry embodies the passion and perfection of the three collaborators: Frank Gehry, Baccarat and Cognac Hennessy, all in perpetual quest for new challenges and experiences to evoke emotion and lasting impressions.
Valorizing the iconicity of Frank Gehry, the Mathusalem will have a select distribution in exclusive luxury retail and private sale points and will be sold for 150 000 € each.

To learn more about the Hennessy X.O Mathusalem by Frank Gehry, visit Hennesy.com or @Hennessy on Instagram.

ABOUT FRANK GEHRY

Frank Gehry has built an illustrious architectural career that has spanned over six decades. His public and private work throughout the world – including the Bilbao Guggenheim, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Hong Kong’s Opus Tower, and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris – is designed with a shared clear-cut philosophy that people must exist comfortably within his spaces and an insistence that his buildings address the context and culture of their sites. Early in his career, Frank Gehry also began to create both sculpture and furniture, which similarly reflected his love of inventive forms, texture and unexpected materials.
Throughout his illustrious career, Frank Gehry has also received honorary doctoral degrees from such esteemed institutions as the Rhode Island School of Design, Princeton University, and, most recently, the University of Oxford. He has also held teaching positions at many universities, including Harvard, UCLA, and Yale, where he is still teaching. His contribution to architecture has earned Frank Gehry some of its most significant recognitions in the field, including the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, the Friedrich Kiesler Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama. The Hennessy X.O 150th anniversary Masterpiece in September 2020 was Frank Gehry’s first project with Hennessy.

ABOUT BACCARAT

Baccarat (Paris Euronext, BCRA) is French luxury brand internationally renowned as a leader in high-end and exclusive crystal products. Since its foundation in 1764, the company, whose artisanal manufacture is based in Baccarat in the Lorraine region of Eastern France, has been synonymous with a unique savoir-faire and has come to symbolize an inimitable French Art de Vivre. For over 250 years, the brand has inspired leading designers from across the world. Ranging from iconic lighting to unique tableware and decorative ojects, fine jewelry and tailor-made flacons, the brand’s products and tradition of excellence are widely distributed around the globe.
Since December 23, 2020, Baccarat has been indirectly and mainly controlled by Tor Investment Management LP (on behalf of the funds it manages), which controls and holds the majority of the capital of Fortunie Legend Limited Sarl, a company registered in Luxembourg which owns itself 97,1% of the capital and voting rights of Baccarat.

ABOUT HENNESSY

The leader in Cognac, the Maison Hennessy has shone around the world with its exceptional know-how for more than 250 years. Built on founder Richard Hennessy’s spirit of conquest, the brand is present in more than 160 countries. Based in the heart of the Charente region, Hennessy is also a steadfast pillar of the regional economy. The House’s success and longevity are rooted in the excellence of its cognacs, each of which is born of a unique process of transmission of know-how from generation to generation. The first spirits house to be certified ISO 14001, Hennessy unites its capacity for innovation and the support of all of its partners to protect this exceptional area. As a crown jewel of the LVMH Group, Hennessy is a major contributor to French international trade, with 99% of production sold in export, and a worldwide ambassador for the French art de vivre.

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BUGATTI CENTODIECI – First prototype for series development

The French luxury brand is paving the way for series production of its exclusive and unique hyper sports car.

Highly exclusive, distinctive and high-performance. At “The Quail – A Motorsports Gathering” in California in summer 2019, Bugatti presented another project reflecting its excellent coachbuilding expertise: the Centodieci. The Centodieci evokes automotive history: the unique project is a tribute to the legendary EB 110. This few-off project comprises production of just ten vehicles for an exclusive clientele. The next phase is about to start for the hyper sports car with a W16 engine and 1,600 PS: the first prototype for series development is currently being assembled.

The design of the Centodieci with its flat front, low-slung front spoiler and three-part air intakes reinterpret the shape of the most famous super sports car of the 1990s. The EB 110 was a key milestone on the road to the revival of the Bugatti brand in 1998 at Bugatti’s historic headquarters in Molsheim, ultimately resulting in the first hyper sports car of the modern era – the Veyron.

The Centodieci is Bugatti’s way of paying its respects to the Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli and architect Giampaolo Benedini, the men who created the EB 110 some 30 years ago. “The challenge for us was not to get caught up in the design of the legendary EB 110 itself and avoid focusing solely on a retrospective approach. Our aim was to create a modern interpretation of the shape and technology of that time: but at the same time, we didn’t want to lose the charm and character of the EB 110.

After all, the super sports car is still fascinating today with its distinctive design and technology,” says Achim Anscheidt, Design Director at Bugatti. The biggest challenge: to transform the very flat, wedge-shaped and graphically virtually two-dimensional body of the EB 110 into a modern, three-dimensional sculpture to project the fascination of the super sports cars of that time into the modern age.

Since the world premiere of the Centodieci, the Bugatti development team has been working on the technical implementation of the strictly limited model. “Every newly developed vehicle poses an immense challenge, as we are creating a very small series that at the same time has to meet and even exceed all the quality and safety standards of a large series,” says André Kullig, technical project manager for one-off and few-off projects at Bugatti.

The engineers first delve into calculations for the body, aerodynamics, engine and transmission. They simulate the airflow on the vehicle and check all components down to the smallest screw.

Meanwhile, the design team checks the styling in close collaboration with the developers before finalising this and designing the surfaces. They adjust the curvature of the components according to the incidence of light so that the appearance is homogeneous in all lighting conditions – an elaborate development process. After well over a year of design and simulation, the team has now developed the first prototype.

“I was hugely looking forward to the first prototype of the Centodieci,” says Kullig, who has been with Bugatti since 2004 and was previously involved in projects such as the Divo and La Voiture Noire3. “Series development of a few-off project is an especially exciting challenge – and that is also true in the case of the Centodieci, which is a very design-driven project,” says Andre Kullig. His task is to ensure a perfect match between the exterior shape and the technology. Despite only producing ten vehicles, the Centodieci must meet all the same technical requirements as a Chiron.

“With the newly designed body, there are changes in many areas that we had to simulate using special computer programmes. Based on the data, we were able to establish a basic set-up as a starting point for series development and the first prototype,” explains André Kullig.

The team was recently able to successfully put the rolling chassis into operation on the site’s own roller dynamometer in the Molsheim Atelier and check all the drivetrain functions –to ensure the Centodieci can move onto the next stage of development. The next step is now to build the elaborate exterior. “With a high-performance hyper sports car like the Centodieci, it’s a matter of filtering out subtleties based on the modified requirements of a completely new exterior – something that requires highly focused and intense development work,” says André Kullig.

The technical challenges involved were enormous: an engine with eight litres of displacement and 1,600 PS generates high temperatures that require sophisticated thermal management. As in the EB 110, the engine is seen behind a transparent glass surface. So to ensure more efficient engine thermodynamics, the Centodieci has a wide air outlet opening and modified air flows. In addition, guide flaps around the five circular air inserts – positioned in the form of a rhombus – ensure sufficient air intake for the 16-cylinder power unit. As a result, the otherwise dominant Bugatti line, the C-line, gives way to a new design. The rear is formed into a large ventilation outlet opening defined by the eight rear light elements. Other development challenges include the new light elements and the rear wing design, which is permanently mounted in the style of the EB 110 Super Sport.

But even if the development team can simulate and test so much data on the test rigs, the Centodieci will also undergo dynamic testing. “In the next few months, in addition to building the exterior and running more advanced simulations in the wind tunnel, we’re very much looking forward to going out on the test track to start tuning the chassis,” says Kullig.

Within a few hours, all ten units of the Centodieci were sold out at a net price of eight million euros. The highly exclusive, hand-crafted small series will be delivered to customers next year.