Ini Archibong’s Pasadena Finds Are as Eclectic and Varied as the City Itself

According to the designer, you must visit a classical Chinese garden and pick up some grill tools for the discerning sneakerhead.

Before moving to Switzerland, designer Ini Archibong grew up in suburban Pasadena, California. "One of the biggest influences was being able to be out in its peaceful streets,"he says. "It hasn’t changed that much since I left ten years ago." With a studio in Neuchâtel, the heart of the Swiss watchmaking industry, the designer enjoys a bucolic setting while still having access to major urban centers. The setup reminds him of home—Pasadena, he says, isn’t all that different.

Ini Archibong is a designer from suburban Pasadena, California and currently lives in Switzerland. 

Ini Archibong is a designer from suburban Pasadena, California and currently lives in Switzerland. 

"This tray was designed by my friend Frederick McSwain, and it was made by a company called Neal Feay, based in Santa Barbara and run by another friend of mine, Alex Rasmussen. His team has a way of beautifully capturing colors and textures. I always try to visit them when back in the area."

"This tray was designed by my friend Frederick McSwain, and it was made by a company called Neal Feay, based in Santa Barbara and run by another friend of mine, Alex Rasmussen. His team has a way of beautifully capturing colors and textures. I always try to visit them when back in the area."

"I love visiting Giant Robot’s store and gallery when I’m in town. This Totoro plush toy is for my daughter. She has a collection of them from every city I visit."

"I love visiting Giant Robot’s store and gallery when I’m in town. This Totoro plush toy is for my daughter. She has a collection of them from every city I visit."

"Undefeated is a true L.A. lifestyle and sneaker-culture shop. It’s also a community. I always run into friends or other cool people at its store."

"Undefeated is a true L.A. lifestyle and sneaker-culture shop. It’s also a community. I always run into friends or other cool people at its store."

"I am friends with the Ghetto Gastro crew. It’s been amazing to have watched these young guys from New York make a name for themselves in the past three years. I went to Target in Pasadena to buy these air fryers for my mom, family, and everybody else. Ghetto Gastro is creating a movement."

"I am friends with the Ghetto Gastro crew. It’s been amazing to have watched these young guys from New York make a name for themselves in the past three years. I went to Target in Pasadena to buy these air fryers for my mom, family, and everybody else. Ghetto Gastro is creating a movement."

"Killspencer is a brand started by an alum of ArtCenter, where I studied, too. The brand has beenaround since I was a recent graduate. I was always inspired by the entrepreneurial journey of the founder, Spencer Nikosey."

"Killspencer is a brand started by an alum of ArtCenter, where I studied, too. The brand has been
around since I was a recent graduate. I was always inspired by the entrepreneurial journey of the founder, Spencer Nikosey."

"Jun is a great friend of mine. We collaborated on my thesis project at ArtCenter. He’s a child prodigy tattoo artist and is probably best known for his black and gray tattoos. It was great to see that he started making sculptures. He is definitely somebody I check in on every time I come home."

"Jun is a great friend of mine. We collaborated on my thesis project at ArtCenter. He’s a child prodigy tattoo artist and is probably best known for his black and gray tattoos. It was great to see that he started making sculptures. He is definitely somebody I check in on every time I come home."

"Cedric Mitchell is a very talented L.A. glassblower. It’s a field where you don’t see a lot of Americans, but especially Black Americans. I like good whiskey, and the right tumbler can make all the difference."

"Cedric Mitchell is a very talented L.A. glassblower. It’s a field where you don’t see a lot of Americans, but especially Black Americans. I like good whiskey, and the right tumbler can make all the difference."

Pasadena & Los Angeles Area

Where to Eat and Sleep: The first thing Ini does when back in Pasadena is get tacos at La Estrella. He might also grab a breakfast burritos at Lucky Boy. While the Langham Hotel is the best spot to stay overnight, restaurants like The Royce and The Raymond come highly recommended for evening meals. Farther flung in the wider Los Angeles area, Silverlake bar Short Stop is one of the designer’s main haunts. 

What to See and Do: With its gardens and serene exhibits, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino provides Ini with pure relaxation. Galleries like Giant Robot in Downtown Los Angeles and Friedman Benda’s new outpost in West Hollywood serve as spontaneous sources of inspiration. For music and those rare Stevie Wonder concerts, he frequents the Hollywood Bowl and Echo Park’s Echoplex. In Pasadena proper, Ini enjoys visiting old instructors at his alma mater Art Center College and stopping by Vroman’s Bookstore.

Chinese Garden at The Huntington Library Art Museum and Botanical Gardens 

Ini Archibong’s Pasadena Finds Are as Eclectic and Varied as the City Itself - Photo 9 of 10 -
Ini Archibong’s Pasadena Finds Are as Eclectic and Varied as the City Itself - Photo 10 of 10 -

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