His creations conquered Hollywood, including Lucy Liu, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. With A-list celebrities as his clients, it was not long before the Cebuano earned international acclaim.
Kenneth Cobonpue, born in 1968, is an industrial designer who has earned renown worldwide for his signature furniture designs, using natural materials such as rattan, bamboo, abaca, and buri.
The Cobonpues used to have a furniture factory found at the back of their house where the little boy, Kenneth, would play and build small structures with his own hands. Cobonpue’s mother is also a furniture designer, who was famous locally for introducing new ways of working with rattan. Cobonpue considers his mother his first inspiration.
Born, raised and based in Cebu, Kenneth Cobonpue was enrolled at the University of the Philippines Diliman to study business. After two years, deciding that the course was not meant for him, he applied for the Fine Arts Industrial Design program but he failed the entrance exam.
These failures did not discourage him and he pursued his dreams in New York, where he studied Industrial Design. He pursued furniture production studies in Italy and Germany. He returned to Cebu with mastery in technical design.
Cobonpue’s first famous creation was the 1998 Yin & Yang chair, which according to him was a fusion of Western and Asian form. Since then, his career has taken monumental boosts from one successful collection to another. Currently, his projects include fabricating a car out of natural materials, specifically using bamboo and carbon fiber.
Among Cobonpue’s multitude of awards are Design Excellence Award and Design for Asia Award in 2005, Good Design Award ASEAN Design Collection for 2003 and 2004, Perlas Award for Outstanding Cebuano for 2004, Craftsmanship Award at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in 2001, among others.
Get to know more of our internationally-acclaimed furniture designer by visiting his website at http://www.kennethcobonpue.com/