At first glance, it might not seem like jewelry, basketball and cognac-making have much in common. But when Lorenz Bäumer was tasked with crafting a limited-edition Hennessy Paradis decanter to mark the NBA’s 75th anniversary this summer, he found some surprising parallels.
“The final design, a decanter in the shape of the iconic basketball made from crystal is for me almost like a jewel,” he tells Elite Traveler. “Jewels, like rare cognacs evoke emotions, they come from the soil and create a bond between people. I liked that idea.”
The esteemed Parisian jeweler isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. During his illustrious career he served as the artistic director for Chanel jewelry for over two decades before joining Louis Vuitton in 2007.
Bäumer left the French fashion house in 2007 to focus on his eponymous brand, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking on the occasional project that captures his imagination.
When Hennessy approached him about the NBA collaboration, he was intrigued by the challenge. “I had great freedom to break away from the iconic silhouette and to create a completely new design,” he explains. “I wanted to create a decanter that expresses the movement and dynamism of the game, while also reflecting the rarity and delicate precious side of Hennessy Paradis.”
Merging these two seemingly disparate worlds was no easy task. But Bäumer has somehow managed to combine the essence of basketball, jewelry and cognac-making to create something exceptional.
“The shape of the decanter is a tribute to the iconic design of the basketball and also a sculptural and dynamic design that reflects the sport and the excitement it generates,” he says.
Bäumer worked with artisans at Maison Baccarat to craft the crystal carafes. The aim, he explains, was to “achieve perfect facets to optimize the light breaking through the crystal and to recreate the aspect of a faceted jewel.”
The 1.75-liter bottle of Hennessy Paradis is housed within a cubic case made from orange leather and wood reminiscent of a parquet floor, in another nod to the NBA. Tying this back to his craft, Bäumer says the unique packaging was “inspired by a jewelry box” and is opened with a key.
Just 75 limited-edition decanters have been crafted, three of which were released in North America this fall for a cool $150,000 each. Avid NBA fan DJ Khaled was gifted one of the precious bottles this summer onboard a custom Hennessy Paradis yacht sailing through Miami harbor.
It’s not the first time the exclusive cognac maker has enlisted the help of an esteemed designer to create a one-of-a-kind decanter. Earlier this year, Maison Hennessy brought in celebrated architect Daniel Libeskind to craft a striking new bottle for the luxury brand’s rarest cognac expression, Richard Hennessy.