The Aesthete: Ini Archibong talks personal taste

The designer is renowned for his finely crafted and material-driven sculptural furniture for Sé and marble objets for Lapicida

Ini Archibong at home in Neuchâtel
Ini Archibong at home in Neuchâtel | Image: Beat SchweIzer

My personal style signifier is the stack of 10 to 15 bangles I wear on my right wrist. I own 35 in total, all picked up on my travels over the years. My favourites are a pair of thin, silver cuffs by Majoral that I bought in Spain long ago. majoral.com

A Slim d’Hermès watch, £4,750
A Slim d’Hermès watch, £4,750

The last thing I bought and loved was Morton Subotnick’s crazy 1971 electronic album Sidewinder, from Poo-Bah Record Shop in Pasadena. I’ve been buying my vinyl there for so long the owner has become a friend. 2636 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107 (+1626-449 3359; poobah.com). 

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And the thing I’m eyeing next is the Slim d’Hermès 39.5mm watch in midnight blue. It is a perfect balance of simplicity, elegance and functionality, and its super-slim form makes it the perfect suit watch. £4,750; hermes.com.

Ljubljanica River flows through the centre of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljanica River flows through the centre of Ljubljana, Slovenia | Image: Getty

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a classic bomber jacket by PS Paul Smith. It’s a nice, punk-inspired take on the varsity jacket in a deep shade of black, with an elasticated Mandarin collar. paulsmith.com. 

Archibong’s batik fabrics from Cape Town
Archibong’s batik fabrics from Cape Town | Image: Beat SchweIzer

An unforgettable place I have travelled to in the past year is Slovenia. I spent a lot of time there when I was working on Collection IV, a 22-piece furniture collection for , and I thought it was amazing. The people I met were super-hospitable and Ljubljana is clean, beautiful and has a really easy pace to it. se-collections.com

A Red River is Visible by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami
A Red River is Visible by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami | Image: 2018 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co. All rights reserved. Courtesy Gagosian/Robert McKeever

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a suitcase full of African batik fabrics to add to my collection. I stumbled across a tiny shop – I think it was called Union Curios – on my first day in Cape Town and spent the entire afternoon chatting to the two women who run it. For similar try St George’s Mall, Cape Town Central, Cape Town. 

Archibong’s Rubik’s Cubes
Archibong’s Rubik’s Cubes | Image: Beat SchweIzer

A recent “find” is Droguerie Schneitter, a hardware shop in Neuchâtel. I moved to this French-speaking Swiss town recently and as I don’t speak the language it’s been hard to find certain things, such as polish for the silver parts on my pipe. It turns out this tiny, hole-in-the-wall place, one of the oldest in Neuchâtel, is something of a local legend. Rue de l’Hôpital 19, 2000 Neuchâtel (+4132-725 2452).

A selection of Haribo sweets
A selection of Haribo sweets | Image: Alamy

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. I like his message and the aesthetics. He buries the thought in sheer prettiness, which is what I like to do with my work too. gagosian.com.

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The last meal that truly impressed me was a traditional Swiss la chasse meal at Restaurant Kreuz in Gals. We had game, including rabbit, venison and boar, to celebrate the start of the hunting season. Dorfstrasse 8, 3238 Gals (+4132-338 2414; kreuzgals.ch).

An object I would never part with is my Rubik’s Cube. I taught myself to do it in the same way that I learn most things, by practising until the solution became a muscle memory. I can pick up a cube and do it with one hand, more or less without looking. £9.99; uk.rubiks.com.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Rue de Rhône in Geneva. I like to see what’s interesting in the window displays that the brands have created for the season, and I can’t resist looking at the watches in Hermès, Cartier and Patek Philippe Salon. I’ll stop for a coffee at the Riverside Café too. It is famous for its tea and hot chocolate and has a beautiful view of the Rhône meeting Lake Geneva. Cartier, 35 Rue du Rhône, 1204 (+4122-818 5454; cartier.com). Hermès, 39 Rue du Rhône, 1204 (+4122-819 0719; hermes.com). Riverside Café, 19 Rue du Rhône, 1204 (+4122-311 3200; riversidecafe.ch). Salon Patek Philippe, 41 Rue du Rhône, 1204 (+4122-809 5050; patek.com). 

An indulgence I would never forgo is Haribo sweets. Every country has its own flavours and I enjoy discovering the local varieties when I travel. You can get wine-flavoured ones in Germany.

My favourite app is Watchville because it tells me what’s happening in the watch world. I’m not a collector, but I fell in love with the aesthetic years ago and now I’m designing them too. watchville.com.

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