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Kenneth Cobonpue’s ‘Little People’ flip-book animation highlights bayanihan

By Tanya Lara Published Apr 29, 2021 3:50 pm

When Kenneth Cobonpue designed his Little People collection of lamps in 2005, a pandemic was the furthest from his mind. He wasn’t thinking of how the design would illustrate what we need the most now—unity and kindness—16 years after this collection was first released.

A recent animation of his drawings of the little people figures that hold up the lamp show the spirit of bayanihan—but instead of people working together to literally move a wooden house on their shoulders, the little people are climbing on top of one another to raise the lampshade. 

That it was designed 16 years ago shows the timelessness and beauty of this piece. Inspiration comes from everywhere for Kenneth—especially from nature, he told me before. It’s not a stretch to say it comes from people too.

One goal for hundreds of individual figurines: to light a single light bulb. It’s a playful, whimsical embodiment of unity and working together.

Kenneth posted the flip-book and stop-motion animation (which he drew and directed) on his Instagram account today with the caption, “The pandemic has caused so much fear and havoc. Yet, small acts of kindness from people have rekindled hope in the hearts of many.”

The Cebuano designer added, “The Little People lamp is dedicated to those of us who have worked together to bring light in these dark and trying times. It is indeed true that alone, we can do so little; but together, we can do so much.”

Little People Boom Town floor lamp, first released in 2005.

Online the Little People pieces retail from $1,700 (floor lamp) to $3,100 (screen); locally, they're available at his showroom in The Residences at Greenbelt. 

The pandemic didn’t stop him or his team from designing, he said. In fact, it gave him time to rethink—albeit forced upon him as well as to the rest of the world.

“We kept on designing,” he said. “The lockdown gave us a time to pause and rethink everything that we were doing.”

Hundreds of Little People form a screen. 

Kenneth has spun off Little People into his Star Wars collection—but in this 2019 iteration the little figurines covered with salago fiber (“to add volume and body to a sculptural composition of steel”) are holding little light sabers.

Disney actually gave him the power to choose which of its properties to design and he chose the one that took his imagination far, far away since he was a child. (Check out his Star Wars collection here.)

Hanging lamp, hanging Little People.

“Next year is going to be exciting for the brand,” he said last year.

That year is now and we can’t wait for Kenneth to once again amaze us.