“The most enduring legacy that I hope to leave is not my body of work, but the generations of designers that I hope to inspire.”
Located in the backyard of their home and employing four to five people at a time, Interior Crafts of the Islands, Inc. was founded by Betty Cobonpue in 1972. As a youth, Kenneth Cobonpue spent nearly all his free time working in his mother’s “factory.”
Kenneth, naturally, developed an interest in and talent for design, and so, at age nineteen, Kenneth Cobonpue left home to study design at the Pratt Institute in New York. This was followed by an apprenticeship in Italy and further studies in furniture design and marketing in Germany. After graduation and a few years working in Europe, Cobonpue returned to Cebu in 1996 to take over management of his mother’s company.
Envisioning the company’s future, Cobonpue realized that what he could best bring to the design world was himself: pride in his Filipino roots and culture, with the training and knowledge of the world at large. Thus was born the brand KENNETH COBONPUEⓇ: modern designs using natural materials, designed in the Philippines and celebrating the melange of Spanish, American, and Asian influences found in its culture.
Still produced by Interior Crafts of the Islands, Inc., Kenneth Cobonpue’s signature lighting, such as C-U C-ME and Constellation, and furniture designs have earned him a great many awards and distinctions, including the grand prize in the Singapore International Design Competition, the inaugural Designer of the Year Award from Maison et Objets Asia in 2014, and, no doubt through Brad Pitt’s personal interest and extensive personal collection, use of Cobonpue’s designs in the filming of Ocean’s 13.