ON THE PALM

Ken­neth Cobon­pue on de­sign, per­sonal style, and the nat­u­ral ma­te­rial that holds ev­ery­thing to­gether

Cebu Living - - Profile - By GABRIELLE ABRA­HAN Im­ages by PAOLO KONST

The in­ge­nu­ity of the Cebu na­tive in­dus­trial de­signer Ken­neth Cobon­pue dates back to his very first work sta­tion: his child­hood home. In the con­fines of their back­yard, Cobon­pue grew up work­ing with his fam­ily’s crafts­men. Want­ing to cull his creativity be­yond mak­ing his own toys, Cobon­pue be­came the lux­ury de­signer he is to­day. “I had a rich child­hood, I just wanted it to go on for­ever,” he says.

Be­ing a vi­sion­ary, he started his brand with the in­ten­tion of chang­ing the set- up of the in­dus­try. “I wanted to change the whole busi­ness model be­cause I knew then that China was go­ing to be com­pet­i­tive, [ as well as] Viet­nam. The only way we could com­pete was through de­sign and brand­ing.” Cobon­pue’s de­signs ex­plore and play around the re­la­tion­ship be­tween high- class nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als and qual­ity crafts­man­ship, mar­ry­ing sus­tain­abil­ity and in­no­va­tive skill. With rat­tan palm as his fa­vorite ma­te­rial of choice be­cause of its ver­sa­til­ity, the de­signer em­bod­ies the same qual­ity.

Find­ing his own niche dur­ing the launch of his brand is es­sen­tial in his en­tire process. Cobon­pue stands by the prin­ci­ple of al­ways do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent and unique, some­thing that will make the fur­ni­ture more than just another piece to put in some­one’s house. Draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from ev­ery­thing that calls his at­ten­tion, from his na­ture trav­els to a crushed can of coke and a crois­sant, the de­signer is keen on build­ing ideas with a pur­pose. “There’s so much in the world. De­sign has to have a rea­son for be­ing,” adds the de­signer.

Now ex­port­ing to over 40 coun­tries abroad, Cobon­pue has no plans of slow­ing down. He dreams of work­ing on a ho­tel in the fu­ture, not­ing its in­flu­ence on hos­pi­tal­ity and the way it is pack­aged as an ex­pe­ri­ence. Hav­ing re­newed his role as an am­bas­sador of Sun Life Fi­nan­cial, the de­signer ad­vo­cates for fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy and creat­ing things which will have a last­ing im­pact. Cobon­pue works not only to de­sign things but ul­ti­mately, to con­trib­ute some­thing to the big­ger pic­ture.

GIV­ING A PRE­VIEW OF HIS UP­COM­ING EX­HIBIT IN PARIS, KEN­NETH COBON­PUE IN­TRO­DUCES A NEW LINE OF LIGHT­ING FIX­TURES. THE LIMBO CHAN­DE­LIER (ABOVE) IS ONE OF THE UNIQUE PIECES THAT AIMS TO BRIDGE

PROD­UCT AND SCULP­TURE.

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