Who doesn’t know Kenneth Cobonpue? He’s like the Manny Pacquiao of the Philippine furniture industry!
In college, I first came to know about Kenneth as part of Movement 8–a world-renowned group of eight Filipino furniture designers who elevated the image of indigenous materials and gave modern furniture a new face. But, I guess, for a lot of people, he would be the Filipino designer whose works are in the house of Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie (the most famous being his Voyage bed) , and in the casino set of the movie Ocean’s 13.
Kenneth is a Cebu-based designer who studied industrial design at the Pratt Institute in New York. After a series of further studies and apprenticeships abroad, he returned to Cebu in 1996 and started to manage the family’s furniture company, Interior Crafts of the Islands Inc.
Now, Kenneth is known for his organic and often biomorphic designs. By exploring the properties of indigenous materials such as buri, abaca, rattan, and bamboo, he’s able to come up with forms that are unexpected. Apart from exploring the natural materials themselves, Kenneth goes back to nature where he often finds his design inspirations.
[Photo above: Noodle Collection (top) and Retaso dining table (bottom)]
During our trip to Cebu, we were able to squeeze in a quick visit to Kenneth’s Hive. Paolo and Karmel of Kenneth Cobonpue (the brand) toured us around the showroom, explaining the concept behind the displayed pieces. With the sculptural appearance of Kenneth’s works, the showroom looks more like an art gallery.
Aside from looking pretty and interesting, his furniture pieces are amazingly comfortable. Karmel explained to us that a furniture could take upto a year in the making to perfect the form, details, workmanship and, most especially, their ergonomics. Come to think of it, what’s the use of an incredibly beautiful furniture if it’s not comfortable, right?
[Photo above: Pebble tables and the Tilt Chair, which was featured in the set of CSI Miami.]
[Photo above: Matilda outdoor chair]
Now, for some of his recent works, he also turns to people, places, and things as springboard for new ideas. For example, his Pigalle collection is inspired by Pigalle, the red district in Paris, while the Manolo collection is inspired by Manolo Blahnik shoes. For his latest collection displayed in the recent CebuNext Exhibit, the pieces are inspired by the graceful and interlinked details of knits, crochet, and macrame.
[Photo above: Kenneth Cobonpue's booth, CebuNext 2010.]
Check out the rest of the photos of the showroom below. The showroom is located at 3A Gen. Maxilom Ave., Cebu City. To know more about Kenneth Cobonpue and his furniture collection visit his website here and his Facebook fan page here.
*profile picture (top right) via Kenneth Cobonpue
Tags: cebu, designer, filipino designer, furniture, furniture designer, hive store, kenneth cobonpue
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