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Six Design Brands From Cebu You Need To Know

Cebu City continues to make the Philippines proud as one of UNESCO’s Creative Cities for 2019. Know how these brands have contributed to the city’s international reputation for design excellence.

Cebu City was named and included among the 66 new network of Creative Cities for 2019 by UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) last October 31, 2019 and was recognized for its focus on design.

UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay mentioned that cities part of the network make culture the pillar, not an accessory, of their strategy. This favors political and social innovation and is particularly important for the young generations.

 The recognition definitely brings honor to the Philippines.  Currently, UNESCO Creative Cities Network is at 246 member cities across the globe. According to NEDA (National Economic Development Authority), the recognition was a result of the collaboration between the public and private sectors through the Regional Development Council-Central Visayas, led by award-winning industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue.

Cebu has become hub for creative designers since it has become the home of world class and successful furniture design business owners and brands such Kenneth Cobonpue, Vito Selma, Obra Cebuana Furniture Designs, Inc. headed by Selina Romualdez, HoliCOW gallery store, Stonesets International, Inc.  and Detalia Aurora Incorporated.  Below are some highlights on how each of these brands have contributed to Cebu’s selection as one of the Creative Cities for 2019.

Kenneth Cobonpue

Kenneth is a multi-awarded furniture designer and manufacturer from Cebu. He is well-known globally for his unique designs and extensive roster of clientele, including Hollywood celebrities and members of royalty.

He studied Industrial Design at the Pratt Institute in new York in 1987, apprenticed for a leather and wood workshop near Florence, Italy, went to study Furniture marketing and Production at Export-Akademie Baden Wurttemberg in Reutlingen, Germany  and also worked in Biefield and Munich before returning to Cebu in 1996 to manage Crafts of the Islands, Inc., a furniture design and manufacturing company founded by his mother.

Known for his modern design and functional art pieces, his brand KENNETHCOBONPUE has become known globally. He reveals new works in design shows in Milan and New York every year and speaks regularly about design all over the world. Various designs by him have also been featured in films and TV shows such as Oceans 11 and CSI.

Vito Selma

Another well-known multi-awarded and established furniture designer is Vito Selma.  He has keen attention to detail, made evident by his pieces that showcase excellent craftsmanship.  His brand is distinctly Filipino, and taking his inspiration from nature, it is but natural for him to rely on wood as his primary medium for his products.

Vito Started out in furniture design in 2006 when he held the position of Creative Diretor for Stonesets International, Inc. and he worked his way to become the Head Design Director before establishing his own brand: Vito Selma for his furniture design and products.

He had formal design studies at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco  and he also pursued his Masters in Industrial Design at the Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan, Italy and graduated in 2012.

He is grateful that he was also mentored and influenced by great designers such as Debbie Palao, George Haast, Rafaella Mongiarotti, the Campana Brothers and Spanish Studio Cul De Sac.

During the most recent Manila Fame 2019 event, Vito Selma showed to Metro.Style, his latest furniture creations which include a flexible book shelf that can easily be adjusted to accommodate various sizes of books.  He also has a side table that can be placed in different sides of the coffee table to provide client the opportunity to play with their furniture or curate their own home. Apart from this, he also customizes the colors of furniture pieces for clients to provide them with the type of home furniture that will suit their overall color scheme and style.

Obra Cebuana

Vito Selma’s sister, Selina Romualdez, is also in the furniture business as she runs a company called Obra Cebuana with her husband Justin.

Obra Cebuana is a world-class manufacturer of Furniture and Home Accessories. Their pieces shows the rustic soul of the Philippines Islands through the interplay of natural textures, patterns and contours interpreted into award-winning designs of contemporary and old world charm.

Products made using locally abundant and wholly renewable materials such as rattan are used to make unique furniture and home accessory pieces by Obra Cebuana have gone global since they have reached various homes and living spaces in the United States of America, Latin America, Europe, Australia, South Africa and Asia.

Detalia Aurora Incorporated

Detalia Aurora, Inc., is a hand-craft and material driven company dedicated to creating world-class furniture and home accessories.

The company has over 30 years of experience I the Furniture and Home Accessory manufacturing industry. They design and sell globally a wide range of Indoor/Outdoor furniture and Indoor/Outdoor home accessories that reflects Filipino workmanship and creativity.

The design creative directors of Co-Creative Studio, Vikki and Paula Rodriguez, have been inspired their people. “Inspiration in our design comes from a place of simplicity and human connection”, says Paula Rodriguez.

Both designers recognize the importance of working with local artisans and partners in order to create good design creations that appeal to a global market.

HoliCOW Gallery- Store

The Holistic Coalition of the Willing or HOLICOW , is a sustainable furniture an dhoweares company based in Cebu. The company gathers some of the country’s premier innovators to cultivate  intelligent design towards a sustainable future.

Every piece they create communicates the stories of the artisans and their pursuit of harmony with nature.

HOLICOW is composed of the following designers: Bunso, Co-Creative Studio, Debbie Palao, Detalia Aurora Inc., Floreia, Hacienda Crafts, Neil Felipp, Obra Cebuana and Pacific Traders.

Stonesets International, Inc.

Stonesets International, Inc. is a 100% Filipino-owned corporation that was established in 1988.

The company manufactures furniture and home accessories using imported lumber of beech, pine and our very own Philippine Mahogany, Lauan and Gmelina.  Other indigenous local materials such as bamboo, rattan, arorog, wiker, buri, coco products and shells, etc.

In 2007, the company started producing design of Vito Selma.

Moving Towards a Common Goal

With a common goal to promote proudly Philippine-made, high quality furniture and home accessories, these brands have continued to innovate and make use of sustainable materials that attract both local and foreign buyers.

Cebu’s recognition as a Creative City by UNESCO surely inspires homegrown designers and artisans to improve on their work and contribute to the growth of Philippine economy.