Kenneth and our relationship go back a number of years. We met at the Cologne furniture market where his space was very tiny, buried in a basement with lots of other start-up dealers. He was polite, quite, perhaps shy, and only wanted his furniture to speak for himself. Kathy and I were fascinated by his uniqueness of design, approach to produce indoor and outdoor furniture that was identical (except for the fabrics and other elements for outdoor furniture), and his superior production standards. Every year we would see Kenneth either in Cologne or Milan and talk about his continuing evolution to gain more showroom space and increased global presence. Now when we see each other, we have a sincere relationship where we hug, sit down and drink tea, and talk about the Philippines and global affairs.
Perhaps my favorite experience was in Manila when Kathy and I went on vacation to the Philippines. During our short time in Manila, one of our priorities was to see the Cobonpue showroom and enjoy all of his incredible design. Luckily for us, Kenneth was there for a photo shoot. We quickly realized that he was a true "rock star" in the Philippines. Paparazzi outside his showroom, a photo shoot to put his face on billboards throughout the country, and awards on the wall to recognize his contribution to his country. As a testament to his gentleman-ship, he stopped everything, offered us lunch and we sat and talked about our vacation plans and I quizzed him about some of his success with his furniture. Reluctant at first, he then talked about a Saudi prince that bought his rickshaw for his kids and it is now installed on one of their 747 airplanes. He mentioned that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie bought beds for both themselves and their kids. The list of celebrities goes on. His furniture has also appeared in a number of movie sets.
Before we left, he did two things. He asked me to participate as a model in the photo shoot and offered me a job at his factory when I retire!
Click here to view Kenneth Cobonpue’s collection at Home Resource.