'DESIGNER TALKS HOME' INTERVIEW SERIES: KENNETH COBONPUE
KNQ Associates (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Apr 18, 2011
Filipino designer Kenneth Cobonpue
is an industrial designer known for his signature designs in natural fibers and materials. Based in Cebu, Cobonpue's creations have won numerous accolades and the man himself has been featured in several American films and shows. Apart from that, Cobonpue's creations deck the interiors of some of the world's most plush and modern hotels and resorts in Greece, Spain, Mexico, Dubai and Maldives.
What drew you to the architectural and design industry? Is that original fascination still alive within you today?
Today, we are excited to have Cobonpue offer his insight on furniture and home design.
You can say I grew up in the industry when my mother set up her cabinet-making shop at the back of our house. I used to walk barefoot on Saturday mornings as a child to her little workshop to look for suitable wood pieces to build my toys. Those craftsmen taught me to assemble contraptions that rolled, crawled and flew. That love for building led me to a career.
Today, I still celebrate that fascination through my designs which are tactile, handmade and sculptural. I barely work with a computer and prefer to build models by hand. I let the materials speak to me. The process I go through with my designs is no different from my experiments as a child.Tell us about your typical day (at work and at home).
I try to structure my days as much as possible but its difficult because of so many pressing engagements. A typical day starts at 9am with a series of meetings with the product design team. After that, I review concepts with the graphic design team. Then it's the same series of meetings at HIVE, a lighting and accessory brand I own and direct.
My afternoons are usually spent designing and meeting people. On Wednesday mornings, I teach Industrial Design students at the University of the Philippines. In your opinion, what are the key challenges in designing a residence (as compared to a commercial project)?
Residences are very personal so you have to work with the owners closely. The rules of design can be bent on an owner's whim. Because of this, residential work takes up so much time. On the plus side, an owner will spend more for himself than a commercial space. But commercial spaces are more exciting because you have to satisfy a broader audience that includes yourself.
Tell us about your own home.
My home is an interpretation of a modern Asian tree-house. Its design looks like several pavilions which are surrounded by water and trees. It has 6 levels connected by short staircases and the views are terrific through the wide and large glass windows.
The materials are mainly concrete and glass. Their cold and sleek characteristics bring out the warmth and texture of my furniture and lighting pieces inside.
As an architect/ designer, what do you think defines an inviting home?
I think it's a very personal question because each one of us has a different idea of what a perfect home is like.
I like to be surrounded by nature and references of it because it always has a calming and soothing effect on me. Working in a concrete jungle and stressed out by the end of every day, I want to retreat to a personal oasis. I do this by pulling the outdoors in. Building this warm, cozy, tactile and beautiful space has always been the cornerstone of Kenneth Cobonpue. I want a home that makes me feel like I am outdoor even when I am indoor.
"I'm looking for housing that is affordable, and modern. I know there must be innovative, well-designed housing out there. I just can't seem to find it!" —Tracey R., from the Dwell discussion board