Design

Designer of the Day: Kenneth Cobonpue

The humanitarian designer on classic sports cars, his forthcoming boutique hotel, and raising awareness about the creativity happening in Asia.

The humanitarian designer on classic sports cars, his forthcoming boutique hotel, and raising awareness about the creativity happening in Asia.

Here, we ask a designer to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their lives.

Age: 48

Occupation: CEO, creative director, and industrial designer

Hometown: Cebu City, Philippines

Studio location: Cebu City

Describe what you make: I design and create functional art that, hopefully, makes people happy.

The most important thing you’ve designed to date: In 2015, I was commissioned by the Office of the President of the Philippines to be the creative director for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Welcome Dinner. I created the entire set design for the arena where the dinner was held, and designed souvenir tokens for the twenty-one world leaders in attendance. I also redesigned our Yoda chair exclusively for the occasion. Afterward, together with UNICEF Philippines, six of the chairs were auctioned to benefit children’s programs. They fetched a total of almost $195,000—making it the organization’s most successful auction in many years.

The problem your work solves: Asia hasn’t always been recognized for its innovation and creativity. I’d like to think the success of our brand is helping to change that perception.

 

Kenneth Cobonpue's Bloom lounge chair.

What you are working on now: A line of home accessories for the benefit of MovEd, a non-profit organization in the Philippines that provides education programs for underprivileged children.

A new or forthcoming project we should know about: We are working on a boutique hotel and condo on Mactan island in the Philippines called the Reef, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

What you absolutely have to have in your studio: Coffee, and lots of scratch paper for me to jot down ideas and draw up sketches on.

What you do when you’re not working: Drive my classic sports cars, and travel.

Sources of creative envy: Charles and Ray Eames.

The distraction you want to eliminate: The need to sell.

Concrete or marble? Concrete.

High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.

Aliens or ghosts? Aliens.

Remember or forget? Remember.

Dark or light? Light.

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