Always known for its iconic carafe designs since the brand’s infancy, Frank Gehry revisits Hennessy’s roots to look for inspiration
October 15, 2020: Iconic cognac brand Hennessy X.O is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and to mark this milestone, the brand asked architect Frank Gehry to reinterpret the timeless bottle containing the exceptional elixir.
First created in 1870, the ‘X.O.’ in Hennessy X.O. stands for ‘Extra Old’, and the exceptional blend follows that with a rich and complex structure. Beyond seasons and decades, the eaux-de-vie that compose Hennessy X.O are selected to create a harmony of notes and balance, chosen by the Master Blender to work seamlessly together.
Hennessy X.O is also known for its iconic carafe. When the cognac was first created, it was contained in the “charentaises” bottles that had appeared a few years earlier. The innovative flacon renowned today was born in 1947, when Maurice Hennessy asked his nephew and grandson of James Hennessy, Gérald de Geoffre, just 27 at the time, to design a distinctive bottle for Hennessy X.O. The shape of his new sculpted glass bottle was inspired by an upturned cluster of grapes.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of this exceptional cognac, Mr. Gehry – the world-renowned architect who has given birth to the legendary structures of the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Musée des Beaux-Arts Ontario, the Opus Tower in Hong Kong and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris – revisited the iconic carafe.
“I wanted to bring Hennessy X.O.” to life, and so I took inspiration from its birthplace and used this crumpling effect of the material that gives it a feeling of movement. The materials I’ve chosen catch the light and make this a really beautiful object on its own, but then you realize it is a bottle of Hennessy X.O,” explains Mr. Gehry.
Mr. Gehry has created several striking designs, including a bottle enveloped in a crinkled sleeve of 24 carat gold-dipped bronze, encased in a sculptural glass glorifier. In another design Mr. Gehry has created a decanter with a brass and gold fusil.
The carafe is available at the Hennessy store in Cognac in 150 numbered decanters imprinted with Frank Gehry’s signature.