Finding (+ Creating) Truth in Beauty With Ini Archibong

I kept an eye on designers This is archibongs Creations long before I had a chance to speak to him. It’s Elena Frampton of Frampton co-studio here, and I’m back with another impressive six-minute chat with a creative I admire. With this it got very real: We don’t just share the same hometown of Pasadena, California; We share an appreciation for the spirituality and magic of creation. That must be one of the reasons I couldn’t stop thinking about his work the first time I saw it … seriously, sleepless nights!

In our latest installment, Salon Series: Short & Sweet, I turn to this shared fascination for the immaterial and learn how Ini Archibong translates contemplative, universal thinking into captivating design.

Ini Archibong Photo: Julian Anderson

The native Californian Archibong calls from a “strange little town” near Basel in Switzerland and describes how he got there. On a one-year work trip during which he designed a wristwatch for the traditional Hermès brand, he said: “I sat by the lake and thought to myself: ‘Why do I live in a big city when I could also live by the water? ‘“Now he lives in a fantasy land, as he describes it, in a house right next to a lake, a river and a forest.

Archibong’s “Vernus” chandelier, which caught my eye when I attended trade shows in New York.

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

Archibong’s move to this dream landscape doesn’t surprise me. In fact, it fits my daydream state after my first encounter with his work! It was at a design fair in New York a few years ago, and I was completely impressed by a chandelier with candy-colored but elegantly slender pieces of glass, translucent, multi-colored gradients like that of the California sunset. Or later, as I found out, like lowrider car paints, surfer art, and roses – influences he cites that are all tied to our common hometown.

In search of inspiration from nature, Archibong’s designs incorporate universal themes. Kadamba Gate was directly inspired by the hexagonal basalt columns on the Northern Ireland coast.

“One of the indicators of good work is how magical an object feels,” says Archibong of working in the luxury sector.

After a nostalgic trip back in time, Archibong spoke about his creativity. “When I started thinking about myself from the perspective of an artist with design as a medium, the first question for me was ‘What is my role as an expressive?’ He goes on to speak of intuition and expresses the same intensity that I tend to use when giving credit to my guttural instincts. It is this reaction that creatives have when we deal with a space, a medium or even a thought for the first time. For example, when I first saw his chandelier, I knew exactly which customer would respond to it and where he would go at her home. Voila, it’s there today.

The “Stargazer” chair by Archibong is designed with an angle that makes it difficult for the sitter to do much other than look at the stars.

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

These forces that bring creators together rely on seemingly cosmic connections: connections between people and with art and design. And of course in our market there are practical connections between designers and customers. Tune in for an in-depth look at the world and spirit of Ini Archibong, with commentary on our professional designer relationship and more personal fun on the California front. As always, stay tuned to the end to peek inside his room (and a nod to PEZ – he has a whole collection!).

A beautiful, sculptural object for mindfulness. Archibong’s “Ritual Calendar” invites the owner to remove a teardrop-shaped totem each morning and carry around the object and intention for the day.

The episodes are edited by Evey Joan, with selected images courtesy of Ini Archibong and Frampton Co.

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