A classic Ferrari, Kenneth Cobonpue describes, has a raw and timeless appeal that is special. He says that driving it is like piloting an old F1 car. A Ferrari from the 80s is modern but still retains that old school feeling, requiring driving skills at high speeds,” the world-renowned industrial designer says. The car's design is a reflection of the aesthetic language of its time, from curvy shapes to sharp wedges.
A vintage car collector, Cobonpue says amassing the right models in one's collection takes time. “You’re building the work of art slowly. And that detailed perfection, you want it to be the best it can be," he says. "It’s also that which translates to my work: perfection, attention to details.”
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Cobonpue is one of the featured personalities in the Italian carmaker’s latest social media campaign, which aims to put a spotlight on real-world Ferrari owners. These passionate people embody the essence of the Ferrari Portofino model: beauty, passion, excellence, tradition and innovation, and emotions.
Set against the backdrop of Southeast Asian cities, the campaign follows three accomplished individuals from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand as they share how Ferrari readily fuels their narrative of grit, passion, and affluence. The storyline in each of the campaigns will focus on what inspire them and the values they live by. This campaign highlights Ferrari’s bespoke offerings and experiences that allow the Portofino to take centrestage
Backed by an established heritage, the Ferrari Portofino is a powerful vehicle that features timeless qualities including engineering excellence and enduring aesthetic sensibilities. “My designs are inspired by nature and I am fond of bringing the feel of the natural environment in," he says. "I believe that design is a living process, forever transforming in response to the changing world.”
These organic inspirations are derived from plants and animals and open weaves that allow light and air to pass through have become the hallmark of his design aesthetics. Cobonpue's designs are a hit, even appearing in full-length films such as Ocean’s 13 and CSI Miami.
Cobonpue was basically born into the industry. His mom Betty who had a furniture-making workshop in their backyard, and founded a furniture design and manufacturing company in 1972. He grew up watching and being fascinated by the craftsmen create amazing pieces of work.
“I would make my own toys and show them to my mom, which made her happy," he says. "That’s when I knew I wanted to do something that would make people happy with objects that I would create that could be part of their lives."
A proud Cebuano, the designer says living down south keeps him grounded. “I love that we have found this balance between industrialization and preserving our natural beauties. Seeing trees among buildings means we’re still on the right track. I hope this doesn’t go away.”
Cobonpue got to drive the Portofino for two days with his son Andre in Dubai and he was impressed with the incredibly fast but docile engine. In an Instagram post (@kennethcobonpue), the designer gamely posed with the Ferrari Portofino. "I look forward to days like these when I get to spend some time with my son and drive through the desert,” he says in the caption. “It makes for a great first Ferrari and is great as an all around car weaving through traffic in Manila or as a getaway car on weekends."
Cobonpue today has his hands full with projects all over the world. Locally, he’s doing the official Philippine Pavilion of the Department of Tourism in London, a green walking park in Naga, Cebu, and an interactive installation where people can lounge and hang out in Clark during the upcoming SEA Games in November.
“I create to excite. Meaningful design evokes emotion, and my aim is to enrich people’s lives and transport them to a world of fantasy and imagination," he says.