Throwback Thursday: “The Best Seat” | Issue No. 53, August 2009

Discover where this top-notch furniture designer prefers to sit back and relax.


The name Kenneth Cobonpue has become synonymous with high-end contemporary furniture design. Cebu and the Philippines are on the furniture map of the world, thanks to the countless awards and citations that his furniture pieces have garnered, as well as features in the International Design Yearbook, Wallpaper, TIME, Architectural Digest, ELLE Décor, and more than 40 other publications.

Cobonpue’s passion for design and design excellence are obvious in his masterfully crafted creations using locally sourced organic materials. These offer an alternative to the Western world’s definition of modern design. Yet on a random day or night in Cebu City, one may be surprised to find him seated—not on one of his award-winning creations—but on the driver’s seat of his fully restored 1959 356A Porsche convertible.

HL : Which came first, your passion for furniture or for cars?

KC : Furniture was not a passion in the beginning but only a way to pay for the cars.

HL : What was your first car and where is it now?

KC : My first car was a BMW M3 E30, a raw race car masquerading as a road car. Underneath that boxy body was a high-revving small engine that loved to be driven hard. It was in a beautiful reddish-orange color called henna red. The condition was terrific, and I think it’s one of the best M3 E30s in the country. The car is now in Manila and the new owner doesn’t want to let it go.

HL : What other cars did you acquire before finding the Porsche 356A?

KC : Every serious car enthusiast starts out with a BMW. Some stay, and some move on to other marques. I bought this Porsche four years ago. Before that, I’d bought the BMW and a Porsche 911 convertible. The Porsche 356 is currently the only Porsche I have.

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