Kenneth Cobonpue’s “Limbo Hoop” has been nominated for Interior Design magazine’s Best of Year Awards 2020 in the Lighting: Chandelier category.
Cobonpue told PhilSTAR Life after his nomination was announced, “Limbo is part of a whole collection inspired by circus performers,” which he dreamed of since he was growing up in Cebu. As a child, he imagined bringing the circus home and having acrobats perform and swing in mid-air from everywhere.
Limbo Hoop was released in 2020 and is the designer’s latest addition to his anthropomorphic Limbo series, a collection of dramatic modern chandeliers made of wire and inspired by acrobats in different poses mid-air.
Painstakingly handmade from gossamer wire, Limbo Hoop is varnished in copper finish with subtle floral detailing. Encircling the acrobat’s body in Limbo Hoop are two circles with LED lights.
To vote for Cobonpue’s design, click here.
Luxury market in a pandemic
The pandemic has caused huge financial losses to businesses especially in the travel sector, which forms a significant portion of Cobonpue’s clientele. Some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts around the world feature both his outdoor and indoor pieces.
Cobonpue said the home market has compensated for the hospitality sector’s slowdown.
“The home market has actually been buoyant. People are investing more in their homes now that they spend more time in them. They don’t dress up and travel like they used to, so they have excess money and time to spend on their homes.”
All my designs are an extension of my childhood. Every piece is an invitation to be a kid again with me.
His creativity didn’t slow down during the lockdown either. “We kept on designing and never stopped. The lockdown gave us time to pause and rethink everything that we were doing. Next year is going to be exciting for the brand.”
Imagination from childhood
Last year, Cobonpue released his Star Wars pieces—three armchairs, a rocking stool, and a chandelier featuring Jedi Knights holding light sabers.
Disney approached him to select from any of the Disney movies to design from and for, and he chose George Lucas’ Star Wars.
During the launch in his showroom in Greenbelt, he told me, “I was amazed at the whole world of Star Wars—this fantasy movie that had the ability to draw you in.
“That’s what I’ve been doing with all my designs, to transport you into my world. People keep asking me, what’s your inspiration, how did you think about this? All my designs are an extension of my childhood. Every piece is an invitation to be a kid again with me.
Star Wars has long been an inspiration for Cobonpue. His Yoda chair, one of his most popular designs, is a comfortable, back-supporting piece made of rattan vines.
He tweaked this design for the APEC Summit in Manila in 2015. Thirty-two world leaders sat on Yoda chairs (swiveling and with wheels for APEC ) including then President Noynoy Aquino, America’s Barack Obama, Canada’s Justine Trudeau, Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto and Japan’s Shinzo Abe.
Three weeks after the APEC Summit, he auctioned off six of the chairs, raising millions of pesos for UNICEF Philippines.