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Finding (+ Creating) Truth in Beauty With Ini Archibong

07.08.21 | By
Finding (+ Creating) Truth in Beauty With Ini Archibong
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I had my eye on designer Ini Archibong’s creations long before I had the chance to talk to him. It’s Elena Frampton, of Frampton Co studio here, and I’m back with another awe-inspiring, six-minute conversation with a creative I admire. With this one, it got very real: not only do we share the same hometown of Pasadena, California; we share an appreciation for the spirituality and magic of creation. That must be part of the reason why I couldn’t stop thinking about his work the first time I saw it… seriously, sleepless nights!

In our latest Salon Series: Short & Sweet episode, I lean into this shared fascination with the intangible to learn how Ini Archibong translates contemplative, universal thinking into captivating design.

Ini Archibong \\\ Photo: Julian Anderson

Calling in from a “strange little town” near Basel, Switzerland, California-native Archibong describes how he ended up there. On a work trip one year, designing a wristwatch for heritage brand Hermès, he says: “I was sitting near the lake and I thought to myself, ‘Why do I live in a big city when I could be living next to the water?’” Now he lives in a fantasyland, as he describes it, in a home just beside a lake, river and forest.

Archibong’s “Vernus” chandelier that caught my eye while visiting the fairs in New York.

When I saw “Vernus” I knew exactly who and where to place it – here it is in our Gramercy Townhouse project.

Archibong’s move to this dreamscape setting does not surprise me. In fact, it aligns with my daydreaming state after my first encounter with his work! It was a few years ago at a design fair in New York, and I was completely struck by a chandelier with candy-colored yet elegantly slender glass pieces, translucent multi-hued gradients like that of California sunset. Or later, as I’d find out, like lowrider car paints, surfer art and roses – influences he cites that are all tied back to our shared hometown.

Looking to nature for inspiration, Archibong’s designs contain universal themes. Kadamba Gate was directly inspired by the hexagonal columns of basalt rock on Northern Ireland’s coast.

“One of the indicators of having done a good job is how magical an object feels,” Archibong says of working in the luxury space.

After a nostalgic trip down memory lane, Archibong opened up about his creativity. “For me, when I first started to think about myself from the perspective of an artist with design as my medium, the first question was ‘what is my role in terms of me being the expressor?” He goes on to talk about intuition, expressing the same intensity that I’m prone to when I give credit to my guttural instincts. It’s that reaction that creatives have when we’re first engaging with a space, a medium or even a thought. When I first saw his chandelier, for example, I knew exactly what client would respond to it and where it would go in her home. Voila, it’s there today.

Archibong’s “Stargazer” chair is designed with an angle that makes it difficult for the sitter to do much but gaze up at the stars.

The spiritual, magical layer of objects and spaces is explored through our two galleries. Here, a look at our last show at Exhibition The Barn featuring chairs by Estudio Campana atop a modernist rug by Doris Leslie Blau.

These forces that bring creators together are reliant on cosmic-seeming connections: connections between people, and with art and design. And of course, in our market, practical connections between designers and clients. Tune in for a profound look into the world and mind of Ini Archibong, with commentaries about our designer-to-designer professional relationship plus more personal nuggets of fun from the California-front. As always, stay tuned until the end for a peek into his space (and a throwback nod to PEZ – he’s got quite the collection!).

A beautiful, sculptural object designed for mindfulness. Archibong’s “Ritual Calendar” invites the owner to remove a droplet shaped totem each morning, carrying the object and intention around with them for the day.

Episodes are edited by Evey Joan, with select images courtesy Ini Archibong and Frampton Co.