Cobonpue’s Creative CreationsDesigner Cobonpue became known because of the uniqueness of his designs. He used bamboo, rattan, and abaca—materials which are native to the Philippines—in making his famous creations. He integrated natural materials through innovative handmade production processes. His furniture is drafted or bent in different ways, creating creative and remarkable furniture designs. But with every starting business, his also had its challenges. He shared that he didn’t have any orders in the first two years of his business. So, in order to cope up with the company’s expenses, he needed to lay off some of his employees” But his determination eventually paid off. His works made him get some of the biggest awards like the grand prize at the Singapore International Design Competition, the French Coup de Coeur award, the Design for Asia Award of Hong Kong, and the American Society of Interior Design Top Pick selection. A few years ago, Cobonpue gained worldwide attention when Hollywood star Brad Pitt purchased one of his Voyager beds which is made from abaca and palm leaf spines. He has made the world notice Filipinos’ talent and craftsmanship. “What I do is always a testament to Filipino craftsmanship. Not many young people do it now, but this is a tradition that we should be proud of. This is something passed on from one generation to another,” he said to Rappler. It was around this time that one of his creations was used in Maroon 5’s hit music video Never Gonna Leave This Bed.
Advice For Aspiring Designers“This is the first thing I learned in design: the world doesn’t need another chair unless you make it truly unique. So in everything I do, I always do something different,” Cobonpue said in a talk before youth and student entrepreneurs at the University of Asia and the Pacific. He also said that creativity can come from even simple things. “There’s really no monopoly when it comes to inspiration. I can be inspired by anything, (even something) as mundane as bread… or cracks on the wall,” he shared to Rappler. “Sometimes I’d be walking somewhere, and then just think ‘Yeah, why not try this (idea)?’ and begin to sketch.” His passion for making furniture designs that will uplift the name of the Filipinos is remarkable in the way he performs and talks. He never stops creating products that will make his customers be in awe. “If I were to make a brand, if I were to make a story in the world of design I would rather shout out. I would rather be the diva in the space rather than the quiet one.”
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