Kenneth Cobonpue, his namesake furniture brand and its accessories sidekick Hive [design by hive] have made their presence on the international stage by utilising vernacular materials from their native Philippines to expertly craft their wares, more often than not inspired in form by the strong cultural roots in their Southeast Asian country.
Continuing with their mantra is Kenneth’s latest release Fan Coral, a resourceful art piece. The oceans surrounding the Philippines are a breeding ground for the Gorgonian, collectively known as sea fans or sea whips and thus seems the inspiration for this wonderful piece.
The beauty of Fan Coral is two fold: its material composition is comprised of off-cuts and leftover materials from other projects (steel, GI wire and steel plate) and only two were made (of differing sizes, H1438xW1500 & H1835xW1138): thus ensuring its sustainability credentials and individualism are continued important factors.
We had the pleasure of obtaining the following information about Fan Coral from Kenneth Cobonpue, the man himself:
KE-ZU: What was the inspiration for Fan Coral?
KC: Natural life has always inspired me. I find beauty in the graceful motion of fan corals and in every lacy detail of its fans.
KE-ZU: What materials were used? We understand that they were salvaged from waste from other product?
KC: Steel, GI wire, Steel plate.
KE-ZU: What is the manufacture process?
KC: Making the Coral Fan is like making a one-of-a-kind art sculpture in the tradition of bending steel. I had to engineer the way the extremely thin hand-coiled steel strips hold up on the frame of the fans. The steel plate and metal frames were formed out of the jig.
KE-ZU: What other uses for waste/leftover materials does KC employ?
KC: In design, the Retaso is one of the collections I made out of discarded wood pieces. The design consciously eludes waste and shuns excess. Constructed of small pieces of wood fastened with dowels, the finished pieces in this collection are at once lightweight and sturdy
KE-ZU: Many of KC's furniture pieces could be considered art pieces, why this move into sculpture?
KC: The Fan Coral actually isn’t really a sculpture in the strict sense of being purely aesthetic. It’s actually a screen that is sculptural in its design and appeal, which is something that I do put into many of my pieces.
Will there be more art pieces to follow?
KC: Yes, in fact I made a circus-themed display featuring stools that resemble audiences of varying characters, brightly painted accent tables with legs in whimsical shapes, miniature cages that serve as accent pieces, even a classic spring-style cannon made out of wire mesh.