From the young boy in the backyard to “rattan’s first virtuoso”

A multi-awarded furniture designer and manufacturer from Cebu, Philippines, Kenneth Cobonpue made a name both in the local and international for his unique designs and roster of clientele that include names such as Queen Sophia of Spain and Brad Pitt.  Cobonpue’s trademark is the integration of locally sourced materials with innovative handmade production processes. His craft is recognized by different award-giving bodies around the globe like the American Society of Interior Design and French Coup de Couer to name a few. His designs have also appeared in films, music videos, and US TV series. In 2007, Kenneth was named by TIME magazine as “rattan’s first virtuoso”.

Kenneth was born in a Chinese family and was initially encouraged by his father to take up a business course. But his love for designing was developed at an early age when he used to play with various materials and create furniture pieces at his mother’s backyard factory. Although he followed his father and took up a business course, he eventually shifted to pursuing his first love by taking up Industrial Design in Germany. When he went back to Cebu, the primary challenge he faced was the lack of machines to be used in the country. He faced this trial with grace even if it meant dealing with low technology and losing clients.  As expected, his perseverance paid off and the rest is history. For more of this artist’s work, visit his website.

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