Sarah Rich

KENNETH COBONPUE

by , 09/29/05
filed under: green furniture

Filipino designer Kenneth Cobonpue has good design in his genes. His mother, Betty Cobonpue, founded a furniture design and manufacturing company in the Phillipines in the early seventies, where she gained a reputation for her innovations in the use of rattan. Kenneth left the islands to go to Pratt Institute for Industrial Design and has been back in his native region for nearly ten years, integrating his traditional design heritage with his industrial training.

Kenneth Cobonpue uses a vast array of native, natural materials in his work, including palms, seagrasses, bamboo, abaca, and rattan. The results reflect his mixed background; certain pieces look like they belong in a thatched hut in the tropics (such as the slightly elfen Voyage Bed below), while others look ready for a starkly minimalist office or modern home (Segovia and Kabuki above, YinYang and SeeU-SeeMe, bottom).


The Segovia chair was inspired by Dutch designers Rud Thygesen and Johnny Sorensen. It was made for a special exhibition in Manila re-interpreting Danish designs using indigenous and renewable materials. The seat is woven with natural manila hemp (abaca) twisted around fine strands of wire and the structure is made of native mahogany.

Cobonpue has won multiple awards for his wide-ranging designs. He is one of the featured designers in the 2005 Gwangju Design Biennale, which runs from October 18-November 3 in Gwangju, South Korea. The conference aims to “overcome the Western-oriented modern design paradigm and to introduce the creative and diverse culture of Asia to the world by combining East and West,” an objective that is encapsulated elegantly through the combined Eastern and Western expressions in Cobonpue’s work.

Link: www.kennethcobonpue.com
Link: www.design-biennale.org

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15 Comments

  1. the design muse February 7, 2011 at 2:19 am

    As an interior designer, I am such a big fan of Kenneth’s designs. He has such an amazing mind. Truly, a genius!

  2. RENEBUENAVENTURA March 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Kenneth, you’ve gone a long way already my boy. Proud to support you before with your computer units requirement from Compumax International. You are such a great designer. A somebody am proud to be….
    a Filipino.

    RENE C. BUENAVENTURA

  3. reynaldo de leon February 21, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Hi Mr. Kenneth, i’m a big fan of yours. I keep a copy of Masigasig magazine with a feauture article about you and read it everyday because it inspires me a lot.

  4. kaye_gumadan March 3, 2009 at 8:31 am

    i’m a 1st yr student in UPV……..ID (industrial design)
    u r really one of my inspiration in this field…..
    thanks…..
    God bless….
    hope u come to our xhibit this march….
    ^_^

  5. mwijangco April 4, 2008 at 7:20 am

    hello!, mr. Kenneth Cobonpue, im 20 yrs of age from PAmpanga ijust want to say dat you are my inspiration coz i really like your work, its very unique designs. i hope i can see you soon so dat i can also show to you my creations.

  6. jeanna November 27, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Mr. Kenneth Cobonpue had a talk with us (Interior Design and Industrial Design students of the University of Santo Tomas) earlier this day about his works. His designs were really great and we were all amazed with his beautiful designed furniture. We hope to see him again soon here in UST and have another talk with us.

    We Filipinos are so proud of you! Good job Mr. Kenneth Cobonpue!

  7. phoebe blanquisco September 20, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    Hello Mr. Kenneth, I’m a first year student taking up interior design and part of our requirement is to improve or come up with new furniture designs….and the good thing is, I don’t have to think a lot about it! The first time I saw you in television with an interview on JESSICA SOHO REPORTS, I was really amazed about your works and the honors and prestige you brought to the Philippines.
    I know that my three hours of sitting here in front of my computer looking for your wbsite is not a waste of time after all! I know I can finish my project with the help of your creative designs. I’m so proud of you being a Filipino!!!! Keep it up!!

  8. Maximino Ouano Dy II September 5, 2006 at 5:08 am

    hello kenneth… i am a Cebuano also and i want to have a brochure regarding your furnitures… coz i want it to be my reference coz i am an interior deign student at PSID… thanks… just email on how can i get your brochures thanks…

  9. Connie Joaquin August 28, 2006 at 8:26 am

    Dear Sarah,

    I want to request for the e-mail address of Mr. Kenneth Cobonpue. We wish to feature him in our PinoyWorld Magazine. Filipinos from many parts of the world will surely be glad to read about him and his works.

    Thanks.

  10. Gino Madrid August 14, 2006 at 10:39 am

    TO MR. COBONPUE, YOUR SUCH A GREAT MAN FOR US FILIPINOES. THANKS FOR BEING AN INSPIRATION TO US. YOU ARE A TRUE SOURCE OF PRIDE

  11. doug December 8, 2005 at 6:48 pm

    hi,
    just curious about kenneth cobonpue’s piece “segovia” chair which is definitely a danish “inspired”piece…is the exhibition he mentioned documented? may i know what’s the name of the exhibiton? when and where it took place?

    if i make an alvar aalto “paimio” chair and replaced the wood with another material, say mahogany – does it make it worthy to call it my design? and give it a new name and then sell it in my website?

    please let me know what your thoughts are on this topic. thanks!

    doug

  12. Sarah October 12, 2005 at 4:09 pm

    For readers interested in Christian’s inquiry as to the source of this design, the following is from Kenneth Cobonpue:

    “The chair that you have on your website is inspired by Rud Thygesen and Johnny Sorensen. It was made for a special exhibition with some friends in Manila re-interpreting Danish designs using indigenous and renewable materials. In that exhibition, credit was given to the original designers. In my interpretation, the seat is woven with natural manila hemp (abaca) twisted around fine strands of wire and the structure is made of native mahogany. Where it is under my control, credit is always given to the original designers.”

  13. Sarah October 2, 2005 at 12:37 am

    Christian.
    Thank you so much for pointing that out. I was unaware of Fredericia. I am going to try to send Kenneth Cobonpue an email and find out whether he has created this as something openly inspired by the Danish dedsigners…It’s a mystery at this moment to both Jill and I! I most definitely want credit to be given to the appropriate recipients, and the elder designers are clearly the first. The process of creating “knock-offs” of classic designs is a delicate one, and can obviously be problematic. I’ll pass on whatever I find out as soon as I can.

    Sarah

  14. Christian Black October 1, 2005 at 9:38 pm

    Kenneth Cobonpue has done some interesting pieces, but the chair you featured above is a very strong “inspiration” (copy) of a famous danish design called the King’s Furniture from Fredericia. The designers that should be credited are Rud Thygensen & Johnny Sorensen. It is only fair to pay credit where credit due. The designers are still alive and living in Copenhagen. You can find there work at http://www.fredericia.com

  15. kavita October 1, 2005 at 8:09 am

    awesome…

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