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<< Back to Robb Report, November 2013

Design Portfolio: This Is Not a Pipe

Richard Carleton Hacker

Six years ago, the Smokers Division of Alfred Dunhill Ltd., the London luxury-goods maker, set out to create a pipe that would embody elegant living, high art, and fine craftsmanship. Kalmon Hener, the brand’s product line director, designed a singular piece based on the Eiffel Tower, and like the structure itself, it is a marvel of intricacy and engineering. The project was completed earlier this year, as Dunhill renamed its Smokers Division the White Spot (www.whitespot.co.uk), with a bowl carved from a single piece of flawless briarwood and a tower hand cut from sheets of 18-karat gold and embellished with 492 diamonds, 140 sapphires, 20 rubies, and a cornflower-blue 3.75-carat Sri Lankan sapphire. A cabinet decorated with an inlaid image of workers building the Eiffel Tower holds the pipe and five rare books about the Paris landmark, including volumes commissioned by Gustave Eiffel in 1900. The entire piece is valued at $3.5 million. “This is not a pipe,” Hener says, unintentionally alluding to René Magritte’s surrealist painting The Treachery of Images. “It is a symbol.”