At a glance you’d be fooled into thinking the sculptural, 24-carat gold Joe Doucet ashtray or Tsubota Pearl’s green tortoiseshell lighter were from a mid-century era when smoking was considered elegant and elevated. Instead, they’re amongst the horde of new high-designed and carefully commissioned accessories by Tetra, the e-commerce platform and lifestyle brand that’s dedicated to reviving the ritual of smoking through beautiful objects.
Little more than a year since their launch, Tetra has become the one-stop shop for smokers with aesthetic sensibilities, with a long list of great names such as Fort Standard, Apparatus and Lindsey Hampton contributing designs made from timeless natural materials like ceramic, marble and brass.
Tetra was conceived amongst good friends: like-minded aesthetes determined to do away with ugly, blobby glass pipes. A product category clearly ripe for reinvention co-founders Eviana Hartman, Monica Khemsurov and Su Wu pondered how they might call on their design friends to help overhaul the genre. “The idea just came about all of the sudden when we were on the beach… I asked Eviana and Su where they went to get cool smoking gear, and they shrugged and said there was nowhere to go. So we created the somewhere,” Khemsurov says.
Pipes and lighters are the clear customer favourites and so-far best sellers. “With ceramic there are a lot because it’s easier to produce in small batches,” notes Khemsurov. “We noticed a particular hole in the market for stylish glass pipes,” namely the artfully slender Balance Pipe, with its meticulously designed flat surface and pleasing proportions.
The process of designing and manufacturing their own products has been fairly easy, thanks to the seasoned designers and entrepreneurs they’ve worked with. Contributing designers like Jamie Wolfond of Good Thing and Florida design studio Yield have both helped Tetra with industrial production issues, as well as designed objects that are mindful of their own style.
What’s next design-wise? A small two-colour pipe by Yield will launch in early December, whilst they’ve also got a self-designed pipe in the works due for release next year.
Main image: Hammertone Tray by Other Kingdom and Aero Pipe by The Pursuits of Happiness. Photography: Robin Stein