Kenneth Cobonpue | Interior Crafts of the Islands, inc.

Kenneth Cobonpue CEO and Creative Director Interior Crafts of the Islands, Inc.

TIME magazine called him “Rattan’s First Virtuoso” in 2007, and seven years later, he won the first French Maison et Objet Asian Designer of the Year. These and dozens of other international awards and accolades are proofs that the Chinese Cebuano master artist was born and destined to be a Tiger.

Growing up surrounded by his mother’s home workshop in the Queen City of the South, Cobonpue was not only exposed to artistry and craftsmanship at a very young age, he was also nurtured in the appreciation of the finer things in life, the passion for beauty and learning, and the desire to create the best that the world can offer from nature’s bounty.

Exemplary of his creative ethos are his Yoda chairs constructed from rattan reeds woven on a steel frame, which was used in 2015 by APEC Summit leaders including US President Barack Obama. His creations have likewise graced movies like Oceans 13, John Wick and shows like CSI, Inventing Anna, as well as the pages of the London and New York International Design Yearbook and Phaidon’s &FORK, recognizing him to be a leader of a new Asian design aesthetic.

“I had to break all the prejudices of the world, that the Philippines is a poor country without a proud design and manufacturing history like our Italian or French counterparts, that we cannot produce a luxury brand, but only continue to produce for them. I have proven them wrong: our designers stand with the best in the world,”

Cobonpue said.

Today, his eponymous brand Kenneth Cobonpue is a must-have among collectors, Hollywood stars like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, art collectors and members of royalty. He elevated his company into a luxury brand, elevating function into high art, as he catapults Philippine furniture design into the global arena. This feat he achieves through the melding of technology, hand craftsmaship, natural materials and traditional craft. Cobonpue continues to champion the cause and future of Filipino design and was instrumental in the creation of the Creative Economy Council of the Philippines.

He co-founded the Industrial Design program at the University of the Philippines in Cebu and was Chairman and consultant of the Industrial Design department at the College of St. Benilde, La Salle Manila. Concurrently, he serves as Ambassador for Industrial Design for the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, Private Sector Representative of the Department of Trade and Industry Design Advisory Council, Chair of the Regional Development Council – Region VII of the National Economic Development Authority, Ambassador for Central Visayas of the Department of Science and Technology, and Ambassador of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“The most important legacy I want to leave the country is not the awards or accolades I won, but the inspiration my work can perhaps give to the next generation of Filipino designers. The future of the country is in their hands. We must harness our talents, resources and skills to show the best of our country, and prove what it means to be a global Filipino.”

– Cobonpue


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