The designer Ini Archibong has won global recognition for his work with Hermès and Sé and his pieces have been exhibited in galleries across Europe and the USA. He’s known for his designs of luxury items but recently he’s been working on something very different – a partnership with the American design firm Knoll, renowned for its workplace furniture - where Ini has been designing a stackable chair and a table to be used in cafeterias.
Working closely with Ini to make his designs a reality is Knoll’s Executive Vice President of Design, Benjamin Pardo. We follow the discussions between him and Ini over months as they work through the intricacies of making the chair safe and stackable.
The programme begins in 2019 when Imogen Foulkes meets Ini at his home in Switzerland and see how his designs are beginning to take shape. There will be 2 versions of the chair- one with arms and one without. But can what’s in Ini’s head be adapted to the manufacturing processes and the demands of making something like this for a mass market?
As the pandemic takes hold, the process has to be paused – but soon it resumes and, finally, Ini can take delivery of a completed chair ahead of its planned unveiling in the Pavilion of the African Diaspora that he’s designed for the London Design Biennale in June 2021.
BBC "In the Studio" airs Ini Archibong: Making the Chair on Tuesday, May 18th. Listen to the program here.
Reporter: Imogen Foulkes
Producer: Emma Kingsley for BBC World Service
Learn more about Ini Archibong and his work: