Master of All Trades: Kenneth Cobonpue Lays Down the Blueprint of His Design Journey

In his own feature on Infinite Legacies, Kenneth Cobonpue disclosed how he went from being a kid with a knack for the arts, a college student computing numbers, to an internationally known artist in his field of design

For the latest episode of Infinite Legacies, the docuseries of Smart Communications, Inc.’s luxury postpaid brand Smart Infinity, world-renowned Industrial Designer Kenneth Cobonpue graced everyone’s screens. In his feature that aired just this July 2022, the Cebu-based furniture designer and manufacturer opened his doors to share to us all his journey on creativity and design, the hits and misses of pursuing his chosen craft, the importance of mentorship, as well as his great appreciation for the failures that come with the road to success.

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Passion turned purpose

Kenneth Cobonpue with just some of the early stages of his designs

Having been exposed to his mother’s furniture company at such a young age, Cobonpue already had the true DNA of creativity running throughout his body. He had the environment to create a variety of sketches, familiarize himself with different materials, and generally learn about the creative process that comes with building an object. He was already immersed, and he didn’t even really know it yet.

“My childhood was full of fantasy. It was very, very creative.”

Kenneth Cobonpue on his younger self’s creative adventures

For his Bachelor’s, he was convinced by his father to take up a degree in business. However, after the grueling hours that came with learning about the program, he opted to follow his heart, shift gears, and pursued something that was more in line with his passion—Industrial Design.

At the time, it was still a fairly new program, but with true grit and determination, Cobonpue persevered and proved to everyone that he was a born creative.

Lucky strike

An artist in his element

It’s undeniable that apart from having the right connections in life, luck also plays a big part in success. For Cobonpue’s case, he was chosen to be a part of Movement 8, a team of designers with a mission to showcase Filipino skill and talent to the international community. Through this venture, he was able to travel all the way to different countries and cities like Spain, Paris, and New York, which caused him to realize that even a Filipino brand can take center stage and stand among other brands around the globe.

“That was a breakthrough not only for myself, but I think for the entire country [as well]. Then, I knew the potential of creating a global Filipino brand. So I think that was the first, very important milestone in my career.”

Cobonpue on his first milestone, even before the official launch of his own brand

Initially designing for other companies, Cobonpue eventually gathered the courage to finally launch his own namesake brand, Kenneth Cobonpue. Through his unique and striking design, even fan-favorite Hollywood celebrities like Brad Pitt and Maroon 5 became a part of his growing clientele after gradually exposing himself in exhibitions all around Europe.

An artist who knows who he is

Kenneth Cobonpue—proud of his namesake brand

With years of experience, Cobonpue isn’t just a designer. He’s also a respected mentor who has taught in different college programs, and is currently headlining a design entrepreneurship program in partnership with Smart Infinity. Here, he mentors young artists who have the potential to pave their own paths in the world of design. Being at the forefront of this program also aligns with his advocacy of preserving the craft of design and manufacturing for future artisans.

“Every piece that I do is, in a way, it’s different. It’s always evolving because it’s just the way I am. It’s a design journey for me, so I take those challenges. Some of them may sell, some of them are going to be flops, but in the end, I want to look back and say I’ve tried it all.”

Cobonpue on sticking to his authentic perspective towards the arts that consists of the ups and downs of life

Even as a renowned designer, entrepreneur, and mentor, Kenneth Cobonpue isn’t just aware, but he’s also fully appreciative of what may come throughout his entire creative journey. Whether that means getting a new piece that will be featured in another music video by a known artist or having that same item collect some dust in his factory, Kenneth Cobonpue stands firm on staying true to who he is as a designer and all-around creative—one who is ready to take and conquer it all.

For more information on Smart Infinity and the rest of the changemakers showcasing infinite possibilities, drop by their official website. Follow them on Instagram for more updates.

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