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150 Years Later, The Odyssey Has Just Begun

Hennessy X.O celebrates its 150th anniversary with two exceptional art icons, Frank Gehry and Cai Guo-Qiang. What better way to kick off the next 150 years?


A riverfront event by Cai Guo-Qiang in Cognac on the banks of the Charente River, an ephemeral Daytime fireworks live event.

A masterpiece of a decanter cast from bronze, with crumpled gold and cut glass, designed by architectural titan Frank Gehry.

What do they have in common? Both are artistic icons at the top of their fields. Frank Gehry and Cai Guo-Qiang have produced two entirely different artistic expressions of Hennessy X.O’s 150-year odyssey of the senses. And yet, they are united by their unrelenting creativity, both drawing inspiration from the sensorial, rich blend of Hennessy X.O.


Frank Gehry is the prestigious Pritzker Prize-winning architect and designer behind some of the most uplifting buildings in the world, including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. His furniture designs are equally sought after, fabricated in uncommon materials like pressed corrugated cardboard, and whimsy merged with a well-thought-out design. Function meets beauty, every single time. A perfect fit to imagine a masterpiece of a decanter spectacular enough for Hennessy X.O on the occasion of its 150th anniversary.


For Mr. Gehry, inspiration was everywhere: Hennessy’s rich history, the legacy of X.O itself, including the curves of Its existing iconic carafe, his own collaborations with LVMH, too, where limits and rules were never set. He explains, “There’s a serious emotional commitment from the people that make this product. I felt like I was starting with their heritage.” Ultimately, his inspiration came from Cognac itself, from the dance between water and light, as the Charente River flows along its banks.


Also helping us mark this extraordinary milestone is one of the most explosive artists of our time, Cai Guo-Qiang. His preferred artistic medium? Gunpowder. Hennessy is proud to host Cai’s pyrotechnic art masterpiece unveiled internationally via livestream, a first for the Maison. Art made all the more precious by its ephemerality.


Always exploring the idea of staying open to spontaneity, Mr. Cai too found inspiration for his piece in the Charente River and the elements. “The daytime fireworks bloom and vanish in nature,” Mr. Cai says, talking about the installation. “The Charente River reflecting the fireworks seems like the endless flow of life.” He explained that the Chinese word for “nature” (zi ran) simultaneously encapsulates the cosmos, the nature, and the idea of going with the flow. Going with the flow naturally is art, and the most ideal state of life.

If you missed it, you can relive its incredible splendour here. (hyperlink) And while this major artistic event coincides with Hennessy X.O’s anniversary year, it also opens a new chapter in the iconic blend’s history.

Hennessy is honoured to celebrate this exceptional milestone in the company of such extraordinary artists. From the original drawings by Gérald de Geoffre of our first modern decanter to Frank Gehry’s masterpiece and Cai Guo-Qiang’s ephemeral masterpiece captured for all eternity, we can assure you - 150 years later, the odyssey has just begun.