We're celebrating 4/20, the day stoners throughout the world celebrate by voraciously consuming marijuana in all its smokable, edible, topical, and who-knows-what-else forms. In honor of the holiday, The ANY Magazine is publishing a series of articles that celebrate marijuana and its many uses.
Tetra is an online retail platform dedicated to elevating the aesthetics of the smoking experience. Founded by Monica Khemsurov, Eviana Hartman, and Su Wu, the trio's combined years of experience in the design world gives them a sharp curatorial eye, leading to a selection of the most well designed ashtrays, pipes, and lighters that we've been able to find. We spoke with Hartman to find out how Tetra came to be, how they find the designers they stock, and what they have planned for the future.
Tetra Is Such a Brilliant and Needed Concept: a Place to Get Beautifully Designed Smoking Accessories. How Did You Come Up With the Idea?
Thank you! The three of us were on the beach in Malibu together talking about how we wanted to do a project together in the design world, but something that no one had done before. We were talking about how the existing new objects in this space were lacking. There is a great tradition of design for smoking objects - some of the best midcentury designers (Enzo Mari, Marianne Brandt) created beautiful ashtrays and other tabletop objects, and the pipe has been a showcase for interesting design since ancient times.
We Know You All Have Very Different Backgrounds in Design. What Brought You All Together to Work on Tetra?
The fact that we're friends! And our work has overlapped many times. I edited Su when I was at T, to which Monica has also contributed for a long time. Monica edited me at I.D. and Su has written for Sight Unseen. We all admire each others' aesthetics and have different networks which complement each other. We were interested in finding the center of the Venn diagram in terms of what we all like.
For me (Eviana) even though my background is more in fashion, my dad was an architect who was very into avant-garde Italian design and I grew up around those kinds of objects, and always wanted to be a part of that world.
Has There Been a Change in the Smoking Culture That Made Tetra Feel Right for Right Now?
Smoking is a ceremony and ritual in so many cultural traditions for a reason: it directs you to focus on the breath, and that (as many of us know from yoga) brings you into the present and connects you with your body and what's around you. Some cultures even view smoking as a channel to connect with one's ancestors. It's an antidote to smartphone-itis. People are craving ways to feel more grounded and alive in today's insane world. Taking pleasure in breathing, or through an intimate and open-minded conversation, is one of the most delightful ways to achieve that.
How Is Tetra Being Received?
It's been more popular than we imagined!
There’s Not a Lot Out There- We’ve Looked! How Do You Find the Designers You Sell?
We're lucky to know so many talented emerging designers through our work as journalists and curators, and have worked directly with many of them to develop original products. Most of them are excited by this challenge, and we love the idea of Tetra being a platform for this process. We also carry objects that already exist, though of course we try to seek out rare and unique ones.
Where Do You See Tetra Going in the Future? Do You See It Becoming a Physical Space?
We have so many ideas! We'll be exhibiting at Monica's design fair, Sight Unseen Offsite, during New York Design Week in May. We'll be launching our first Tetra in-house product there - a pipe, which we also plan to sell through other retailers.
We've hosted pop-ups at boutiques in the past and will continue to do so. Of course, a Tetra store would be amazing someday. Stay tuned!