THE VIR­TU­OSO

Ken­neth Cobon­pue on his cre­ations, what in­spires him, and why he feels at home in Makati.

Makati Leads - - Beyond The Books -

Dubbed by "TIME Mag­a­zine" as 'rat­tan's first

great vir­tu­oso,' Ken­neth Cobon­pue has truly made his mark in fur­ni­ture de­sign, with his unique cre­ations cap­tur­ing the ad­mi­ra­tion not only of Filipinos but that of the in­ter­na­tional

au­di­ence as well. A proud Ce­buano, Ken­neth is well-known for com­bin­ing lo­cally sourced ma­te­ri­als with pi­o­neer­ing pro­duc­tion pro­cesses

that re­sults in ad­mirable works of art.

ON BE­GIN­NINGS AND IN­SPI­RA­TIONS

Ken­neth grew up learn­ing the process of cre­at­ing

and de­sign­ing fur­ni­ture at home. “My mom was

an in­te­rior and fur­ni­ture de­signer and she had a

work­shop at the back of our house,” he re­lates. With peo­ple lit­er­ally all around the house work­ing on the fur­ni­ture pieces, Ken­neth wit­nessed them hard at work. “At the gar­den, I watched them make new things and helped them build it. I’ve

al­ways liked build­ing things as a child—I built my

own toys,” Ken­neth shares. As to what in­spires

him, Ken­neth replies, “There's no for­mula for in­spi­ra­tion. I’m in­spired by a lot of things—from na­ture, my trav­els, my dreams, ev­ery­day things,” he adds. He also shares that he doesn’t have a de­sign phi­los­o­phy. “When you have one, you be­gin to put your­self in a box,” he ex­plains.

ON CRE­AT­ING COL­LEC­TIONS, DIF­FER­ENT DE­SIGNS, AND HAV­ING A SIG­NA­TURE LOOK

By not stick­ing to a for­mula, Ken­neth be­lieves that his de­signs from past to present have big

dif­fer­ences. He re­lates that if he finds some­thing that works, he doesn't stick to it as he al­ways aims to cre­ate some­thing new, even with the risk of fail­ure

—what mat­ters is in­no­va­tion. There is a story be­hind each of Ken­neth's col­lec­tions and he con­sid­ers them his chil­dren—each is unique and very dif­fer­ent

from one an­other. “I don’t think there’s a sig­na­ture

look; there are sig­na­ture de­signs that you know it's a Cobon­pue and I pre­fer it like that. The de­sign them­selves are iconic,” ex­plains Ken­neth.

ON TAP­PING THE IN­TER­NA­TIONAL MAR­KET

“It was a long ex­pe­ri­ence and it didn't hap­pen

overnight,” shares Ken­neth. Though the process wasn't easy, he be­lieves that as long as you have some­thing that's novel and unique— cou­pled with the use of the In­ter­net —it's eas­ier to reach a wider au­di­ence. “In de­sign, there’s al­ways com­pe­ti­tion, dis­crim­i­na­tion; you just have to go ahead and not be dis­cour­aged,” he shares. His in­ter­na­tional best-sell­ing pieces

in­clude lo­cal fa­vorites like the Bloom chairs,

Yoda chairs, and the Lulu easy arm chairs.

ON HAV­ING A FA­VORITE CRE­ATION AND

TIPS FOR YOUNG ARTISTS

Since Ken­neth he treats says it's his im­pos­si­ble col­lec­tions to like name chil­dren, which piece

is his fa­vorite. He doesn’t put out some­thing just

be­cause it will sell; it's al­ways be­cause he likes

it. Con­sid­er­ing art as an in­vest­ment, he ad­vises young artists to per­fect their craft, learn from a good men­tor, and get ex­pe­ri­ences from other peo­ple. “De­sign is not an ex­act science, it’s very sub­jec­tive so it’s im­por­tant to have a men­tor to

teach you what's good or bad, and then try to find

your place in the world later on,” Ken­neth re­lates.

FIND­ING A HOME IN MAKATI

With stores in dif­fer­ent coun­tries and in Cebu, Ken­neth will soon open a store in

Green­belt. He chose Makati as the venue of

his first store in Lu­zon as he has al­ways liked the vi­brant city. In the vir­tu­oso’s own words, “I've al­ways liked the vibe of Makati. I al­ways

stay here in this area and I think the de­sign

in­dus­try is still pretty much in Makati.”

Ken­neth Cobon­pue on his Bloom chair— hand­made mi­crofiber stitched over a resin top with steel base.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.