Kenneth Cobonpue designs world’s first and only bamboo and rattan car
March 21, 2011
Multi-awarded Filipino furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue
is well known for his bold creations, and the latest from his arsenal is the first and only bamboo and rattan car in the world, which is turning heads in an exhibit in Milan, Italy. The car dubbed "Phoenix" boasts a form made of rattan, bamboo, steel and carbon fiber. The project speaks high of craftsmanship, biodegradability and environmental-friendliness, against assembly-line production and high technology.
The Phoenix bamboo and rattan car was shown at the “Imagination and Innovation” exhibit in Via Tortona in Milan last month. The organizers of the event were pretty impressed with his work, and decided to give the prototype the front section of the exhibit area on the ground floor.
The Phoenix resembles a bird ready to fly. It has a "spine" that runs to its back where it forms into a splay of rattan coupled with LED rods to emit light. The engine is in the rear. The sides are meant for the glass windows.
A design apprentice from Germany helped Cobonpue during the project, which took months to complete. The car was built in Cobonpue’s factory in Cebu in 10 days. Anyway, the car doesn’t has an engine yet, which Cobonpue says isn’t an insurmountable task. He says…
This is to show people that our design aesthetic goes beyond furniture, that as Asian we can extend even to designing transportation.
Cobonpue himself is a car lover. He collects and tinkers with vintage cars, and with a group of vintage car collectors in Cebu. But, the very thing that has inspired him to design a car is his environmental consciousness. Cobonpue further says…
It’s a challenge. When you think about it, car building has been all about high technology, robots. But maybe you don’t need all that. It can be handmade. Cars outlive their purpose. How long do you keep a car? Five years or a little more? Then it goes to the junkyard.
It is not environment-friendly. The cost of recycling (a car) is prohibitive. So why not build from a biodegradable material, the shell you can replace?
Cobonpue thinks of Phoenix as only a creative exercise, and hasn’t thought of making it to the production.
Kenneth Cobonpue has earned himself a name with his stunning designs
in natural fibers and materials, using rattan, buri, bamboo and abaca. His furniture pieces have been featured in many movies, such as Ocean's Thirteen, Made of Honor and Spread. He has sold pieces to Queen Rania of Jordan
and Hollywood's hot couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.