Ep. 41: Ini Archibong

Product designer Ini Archibong grew up taking things apart with little success putting them back together, and cutting class to throw pottery. After a false-start in business school, he taught himself CAD, philosophy, and mathematics until he serendipitously found himself apprenticing an architect. That led to a degree from Art Center and discovering a love of designing furniture. Now he lives and works in Switzerland where he recently obtained a Master’s in Luxury (listen to find out what that means!):

Photo by Thomas Canet

Photo by Thomas Canet

What is your earliest memory?

Riding on my dad’s shoulders. I think I was around 3 years old and we were at a fair of some sort...

Top left: Young Ini; Top right: Ini with his older brother Koko; Bottom: Ini playing piano

Top left: Young Ini; Top right: Ini with his older brother Koko; Bottom: Ini playing piano

How do you feel about democratic design?

Everyone deserves good design. I’m interested in how social media and online platforms giving a voice to a more diverse pool of designers and producers will start to affect the democratization of design. Being able to source design from a global marketplace of diverse creatives should result in more good design reaching all levels of products.

Photo: Yves Bachmann for fvf

Photo: Yves Bachmann for fvf

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?

Positive Elevation Always Corrects Errors - The GZA

How do you record your ideas?

I carry a bunch of different notebooks and sketchbooks with me. Some of them are full of writing, some are filled with shorthand sketches. There isn’t really any organization to them. Sometimes I know I want to sketch in my red sketchbook, or I want to jot a phrase that came to mind in my blue notebook. It’s all mostly gibberish and clues to remind me of whatever I was thinking about at the time. Sometimes if I’m trying to capture the vibe of a concept I’ll record some music. I keep most of my designs in my head.

At Glassworks in Münchenstein, Switzerland / Photo: Yves Bachmann for fvf

At Glassworks in Münchenstein, Switzerland / Photo: Yves Bachmann for fvf

What’s your current favorite tool or material to work with?

Definitely glass

Amen&Amen Orion and Galilee tables

Amen&Amen Orion and Galilee tables

What book is on your nightstand? 

The Seven Valleys by Bahá’u'lláh
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
Gideon’s pocket sized New Testament by Various authors (featuring Jesus)

Why is authenticity in design important?

Design is a conversation. Authenticity is your voice.

Bernhardt Design Serif table

Bernhardt Design Serif table

Favorite restaurant in your city?

Au Violon

What might we find on your desk right now?

Rubik's cubes

Lapicida Erosion collection

Lapicida Erosion collection

Who do you look up to and why?

My big brother, Koko. He’s the definition of focus, dedication, and hard work. He was a straight-A Ivy League athlete, played with Kobe and Shaq on the Lakers, and is an Olympian. Now he’s a CPWA. big shoes...

del Sol floor lamps

del Sol floor lamps

Amen&Amen Jadis chandelier

Amen&Amen Jadis chandelier

What’s your favorite project that you’ve done and why?

I'm working on it right now. I think it’s my favorite because I’m working on it right now...

What are the last five songs you listened to?

From my Sé Collection IV “Below the Heavens” playlist:

The Class of 73 Bells (feat. School of Seven Bells) - Prefuse 73
Below the Heavens, Pt. 1 - Blu & Exile
Yeah! (Instrumental) - Ta’Raach
8-Oct-71 - Cortex
The Visitor - Kadhja Bonet


Keep tabs on Ini's designs at designbyini.com and follow him on Facebook and Instagram. Also, we recommend you listen to some of the beats he made while immersed in the LA beat scene: here's one that he recommends: https://soundcloud.com/eye-n-i/sets/tracks-oldies.


Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.