Kenneth Cobonpue is a multi-awarded industrial designer known for his unique designs integrating natural materials with innovative handmade production processes. He began his passage to design when he studied Industrial Design in New York, which led him to apprenticeship and further studies in Italy and Germany
Cobonpue pioneered on integrating design, manufacturing and global distribution and branding from his headquarters on the island of Cebu.
Awards to his credit include Hong Kong’s Design for Asia Award, the Japan Good Design Award, American Society of Interior Designers Selection, the French Coup de Coeur Award and the first Asian Designer of the Year title given by the prestigious Maison et Objet in Paris.
Cobonpue designs have appeared in full-length films such as Oceans 13 and CSI Miami while his roster of clientele include Hollywood celebrities and members of royalty. TIME Magazine has called him “rattan’s first great virtuoso."
Interior Crafts of the Islands, Inc. (I.C.I)
After a series of further studies and apprentices abroad, Kenneth moved back to Cebu in 1996 to help manage their family business founded by his mother in 1972. Upon managing the business, Kenneth discovered that by the use of natural fibers and materials as a medium, modern design could have a new face. His mastery of techniques was challenged by the abundance of the country’s raw materials and skilled craftsmen. He slowly started creating new pieces from that idea, thus forming the collection today. From that he launched a revolution to the Western definition of modern design.
Hive traces its origin back in 2001 when a group of friends acted upon a vision of producing exceptional lighting and interior accessories. Hive then developed into a design and manufacturing facility where various artists can create objects for production under one roof. From then on, the visionary design house has resonated with busy occupants working incessantly, producing a growing collection of lighting and living accessories both stunning and versatile.
Building on a promise of functional items founded by innovative design, Hive cultivates an environment of creative freedom through the strong sense of aesthetic and creative direction of Kenneth Cobonpue and management of Celso Advincula Jr, founders of the brand. This partnership continuously complement one another allowing HIVE to become a seamless collaboration of design excellence and innovative manufacturing.
Hive has found its niche by garnering most form or material inspiration from nature and fusing it with a deep respect for handmade production techniques. A deeper identity is found through the use of locally-sourced, self-sustaining organic materials such as rattan or abaca, with traditional processes creating innovative modern design. The preservation of traditional hand-working methods allows Hive to perpetuate a component of culture for future generations.
“To put a face on Filipino design” was the dream. It started in 1999, composed of the country’s finest and excellent designers, such as Al Caronan, Kenneth Cobonpue, Carlo Cordaro, Tony Gonzales, Milo Naval, Ann Pamintuan, Tes Pasola, Luisa Robinson, and Renato Vidal with Budji Layug as curator, came together to establish the Philippines as a competitor in the world’s high-end consumer market. That dream turned to reality thanks to Ely Pinto-Mansor, former executive director of the Centre for International Tarde Expositions and Missions (CITEM), and Budji Layug. Since much of the Filipino designers we’re not taken seriously as they were known for the lack of formal training in design and having limited exposure to the international market. Movement 8 helped promote and transformed the image of Filipino designers. The number 8 signifies eternity. Which is what Movement 8 is design is meant to be: Timeless in its elegance and sophistication. It also represent the Filipino designer’s eternal search for excellence.
Timeline of collections
1980 – Lotus (patented)
1998 – Yin Yang – Kenneth Cobonpue's first design. The two opposing elements take center stage. The combination of geometric and organic, pliable rattan with rigid steel and solid form with transparent volume. The collection is an integration of material, function and form.
1999 – Balou
2000 – Pigale, La Luna
2001 – Voyage
2002 – Yoda, Croissant, Kabuki, Lulu
2003 – Tilt, Matilda, Amaya, Dimple, Lolita, Terra
2004 – Chiquita, Lolah, Wave, Pirouette
2005 – Stitches, Retaso, Suzy Wong, Kawayan
2006 – Dragnet, Dimsum, Link
2007 – Kawayan Too, Manolo
2008 – Oasis, Noodle, Bouquet, Operetta
2009 – Bloom, Harry, Hagia, Freya, Nobu, Vaña
2010 – Rapunzel, Ima, Juniper, Ziggy
2011 – Cabaret, Papillion, Mermaid,Dream Catcher, Pebble, Giza, Enoki, Tria
2012 – Eclipse, Tropez, Zaza, Kaja, Parchment Table, Annika
2013 – Parchment, Calyx, Adesso, Trame, Papillion Swing
Awards and Achievements
- Innovative Craft Award: ASEAN Selections
BITEC, Bangkok, Thailand March 2015
- Asian Designer of the Year Award
Maison et Objet Asia Exhibition March 2014
- BEST OF THE YEAR AWARD Furniture: Outdoor Seating by Interior Design
Cabaret Sofa, Best of the Year Award November 29, 2012
- ORIGINAL PRODUCTS DESIGN AWARD
Modern Decoration International Media Award Phoenix, December 2012
- TOP PICK AWARD for innovation by American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)
Cabaret Sofa, Architectural Digest Home Design Show March 22–25, 2012
- Prix D’Excellence Coup De Coeur
Bloom Easy Armchair, SIDM Montreal, 2011
- Coup de Coeur Award by Home Magazine
Bloom Easy ArmChair Maison et Objet 2009, Paris, France
- Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2009
Innovation Entrepreneur Award Shang-ri La Hotel, Makati, 2009
- Outstanding Quality and Design Innovation Award
Lolah Easy Armchair Decorex 2008, London, UK
- Microsoft Special Award for Most Dynamic Entrepreneur 2007
- Entrepreneur Magazine’s 10 Most Outstanding Entrepreneurs 2007
Manila Peninsula, November 6, 2007
- 13 Mugna Design Prizes for Exhibition and Product Design
Cebu International Furniture & Furnishings Exhibition Cebu City, Philippines
- 5 Katha Design Awards for Product Design
Philippine Furniture Industries Foundation Manila, Philippines
- Outstanding Design Prize
Balou Outdoor | High Point Show North Carolina, USA 2005
- Design Excellence Award – Best Seating for Lola Outdoor""
- ""Design Excellence Award – Best chair for Dimple Outdoor""
9th Annual IIDA/ Hospitality Design Product Competition May 5, 2005, USA
- Design for Asia Award 2005
Lolah Collection | Business of Design Week by the Hongkong Design Centre November 21, 2005, Hongkong
- First Prize, Open Design Category
Croissant Collection | Singapore International Furniture Design Competition 2004
- Good Design Award 2004 – ASEAN Design Collection
Pigalle Easy Arm Chair, Kabuki Cbinet, One Night Stand Sofa C-U-C-ME Screen Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization Tokyo, Japan
- Good Design Award 2003 – ASEAN Design Collection
Voyage Bed and Yin & Yang Easy Arm Chair Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization Tokyo, Japan
- Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines
- Perlas Award for Outstanding Cebuano
Achievement in the field of Arts & Design 2003
- Golden Shell Award, Ideals of Asian Design
Citation given by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo 2002
- Craftsmanship Award
International Contemporary Furniture Fair 2001 New York, USA
Further Reading & Special Appearances
- International Design Yearbook 2005 (Lawrence King Publishing House of London) curated by Marcel Wanders ISBN 978-1-85669-435-3
- International Design Yearbook 2004 (Lawrence King Publishing House of London) curated by Tom Dixon ISBN 978-1-85669-392-9
- International Design Yearbook 2002 (Lawrence King Publishing House of London) curated by Ross Lovegrove.
- Tropical Living and Tropical Interiors both by Elizabeth Reyes (Periplus Editions) 2002
- New Bedroom Design, 2004 (Daab GmbH) by Marcel Wanders 2005
- 1000 New Designs and Where to Find Them, 2006 (Laurence King Publishing, Ltd.)by Jennifer Hudson ISBN 978-1-85669-466-7
- Tropical Interiors, 2002, (Periplus Editions HK) by Elizabeth Reyes. Pages 93–97
- Design Now!, 2007 (Taschen GmbH) by Charlotte & Peter Fiell ISBN 978-3-8228-5267-5
- Simply Material, 2007, (Viction:Workshop Limited) by Victor Cheung
- Fork, 2007 (Phaidon Press) by Tom Dixon
- Phaidon's new 2007 book, "& FORK," underscores his leading position in the industry.
- Appearance in European television including Deutsche Welle and Dutch TV
- “The Voyager” – “Never gonna leave this Bed” music video by Maroon 5 | January 29, 2011
- International magazines:
- TIME Magazine July 2006 ISSN 0040-781X
- Newspapers: The Washington Post and Shanghai Daily News
- “Ocean’s Thirteen”
- “CSI: Miami”