Design Inspirations with Ini Archibong.

Design Inspirations with Ini Archibong.

“I’m a creative.”

With many personal and professional factors influencing his work, Ini Archibong has a field of expertise that is as multifaceted as his projects. He is knowledgeable in the arts of architecture, engineering and design and harbours strong interests in mathematics, philosophy and world religions.

As the Californian-born son of Nigerian parents, who has previously lived in Singapore and currently resides in Switzerland, Ini draws inspiration from many different cultural traditions. His preferred artistic mediums are industrial design, architecture and music, but holistically speaking, he considers himself a ‘creative.’

Ini Archibong - Design pieces integrating into living space

Guided by creativity.

At this point, there is “very little separation between” Ini, the person and Ini, the creative. He is always creating, be it mentally, physically or organisationally. “For me, design and my work is almost the guiding force behind my life. On the surface level, the actual work I produce has a connection to my philosophical and spiritual outlook on life and therefore has a sense of methodological importance.

As a general rule, he refrains from classifying design as good or bad, instead differentiating between efficient and wasteful. “Design that is efficient and effective has a purpose, and the way that it is crafted is in line with that purpose, and therefore there is no waste in engergy in thought and waste in energy in mind drawn,” elaborates Ini. In a way, every designer creates their own set of principles to work by, he says, stressing at the same time the significance and applicability of guidelines reified by individuals that came before, such as Dieter Rams.

Ini Archibongs work with colours and through music using Braun Audio

Never without music.

Music is intrinsically linked to Ini’s creative process, and his projects usually originate from a musical sketch. “I try to maintain a fluidity with my creativity so that I’m constantly making music, drawing pictures, rendering, modelling and sculpting all at the same time,” he says.

Every room in his home is equipped with a speaker, and they all play the same music so he can stay in sync when walking about. As far as his list of creative ingredients goes, Ini puts music on the same level as colour, stating “when [he’s] not listening to music, [he’s] making music” because it keeps him in “as much of a creative space as possible for as long as possible.

Head over to our Spotify for Ini’s ‘Sounds that Inspire’ playlist.

Good design is unobtrusive.

To Ini, unobtrusive design doesn’t necessarily constitute a lack of artistic volume. It can still stand out and attract attention. It’s more about design being “considered in the context of the space and experience that it will occupy.” He applies this concept by being thoughtful about the materiality of his objects, a practice that is not unlike his approach to music:

“I think about [design] the same way I think about music. When you have a harmonious sound-bed then whatever instrumentation you [have] on top of it should be unobtrusive even though it’s adding to the overall palette. There’s always a possibility to use design to create an increased level of harmony in any space.”

Ini cites La Galop, a watch he designed for luxury fashion house Hèrmes, as an unobtrusive example of his work.

“The intention was to create something that fitted seamlessly into the timeline of a brand that is centuries old and has a very clear set of design codes. My measure of success for that project was to create a watch that would be indistinguishable from an object that was created 100 years ago but could also be looked at and thought of to be a watch from the future. It doesn’t break the flow of the products that have been coming from a brand for hundreds of years and will continue to come out for hundreds of years into the future.” When it comes to unobtrusiveness, Ini sees in it an opportunity for the creation of harmony in a designated space.

Braun Audio x Ini Archibong

Looking for more inspiration? Check out Maria Scarpulla and “Good design is as little design as possible.”