Assisted by Elisabetta Bocchese, his interlocutor at the Miles knitwear company, Ini Archibong developed textiles that can be used as oversized shawls or wallcoverings, but that were more meant as explorations, “like an impressionistic painting applied to fabric,” Archibong says. “To create an abstract fantasy landscape, I used algorithms. They are a defining factor of design today, something that was not a tool until recently.
So to combine them with the ancient technique of knitting is inspirational.” His aim was to recreate the kind of dreamy, euphoric atmosphere as might be experienced when one is half asleep. A painterly, non-figurative interpretation of cloud formations and wave movement aims to blend reality with imagination.
For the small, ceiling-hung lamps, an almost invisible ceramic structure is covered with a soft, amorphous cloud of tricot. “For a knitwear company that has always worked for high-end names in the fashion world, the impetus here was to probe a new field and make an industrial product,” he says. The Bocchese family was delighted with Archibong’s creativity. They describe the Miles production as being “advanced craftsmanship” in the sense that the teamwork here comprises a wide range of skills, not just one artisan. The cutting-edge technology of the digitally controlled knitting machines does not come into its own until dexterous hands have modelled and tailored the garment’s shape, linked its constituent pieces together and sewn the finishing stitch by stitch.