Monica Khemsurov, Eviana Hartman and Su Wu have a penchant for high design — so much so that the three writers and curators decided to fuse their aesthetic sensibilities with their affinity for smoking in the form of Tetra, a new e-commerce shop and lifestyle brand dedicated to 'elevating the aesthetics of the smoking experience'.
The idea began last spring when the three friends were hanging out at El Matador beach in Los Angeles, and they realised that nobody had yet to enter that realm of the smoking boom. 'We have a lot of similar types and we have a lot of connections with creatives, and it suddenly made sense,' recalls Khemsurov.
They made it their mission to be the first, and quickly got to work commissioning design and fashion talent to create objects for Tetra. The trio looked to pieces related to smoking from the past – like Alessi’s Marianne Brandt ashtray – and created a mood board filled with brass and marble objects, sculpture, and vintage pieces they loved, sending out a brief to designers including Leah Ball, Fundamental Berlin and Fort Standard.
Joe Doucet created a sleek $2,000 ashtray coated in 24-carat gold; ceramicist Helen Levi took her gilded hand and turned it into an ashtray and pipe-stand; and Tsubota Pearl designed a minimal matte lighter. 'As a design journalist, I get really excited when someone applies design aesthetics to a genre that’s never had it before,' said Khemsurov.
Who doesn’t want to see a little beauty in their bowl? 'A lot of people we know who are aesthetes also happen to be smokers,' says Khemsurov. 'We assume there’s a market because there’s a lot of smokers out there and they want nice things.'