6 World-Class Filipino Furniture Designers You Need to Know
Manila/ Urbanite/ Interior Design

Six World-Class Filipino Furniture Designers You Need to Know

Six World Class Filipino Furniture Designers You Need to Know

Filipino talents have unequivocally proven themselves to be world-class in a myriad of creative disciplines. Whether it's the mesmerizing voices that have conquered international stages or the awe-inspiring craftsmanship displayed by artisans, Filipinos consistently excel on the global stage: a testament to the “Pinoy Pride” greatness that knows no bounds.

In this article, we are shining the spotlight on six furniture designers who are sculpting stories, weaving culture, and reshaping the very essence of design itself through their crafts. These people not only made their mark in the country but have propelled Filipino artistry on the international scene as well.

Kenneth Cobonpue

Born to a mother who is a skilled furniture maker, it was only natural for Kenneth Cobonpue to follow in her footsteps and enter the world of crafts. After completing his industrial design studies at the Pratt Institute in New York, he began managing his mother’s furniture business and eventually established his own company bearing his name.

His works, all of which highlight the intricacies of traditional craftsmanship, nature, and technology, have won numerous local and international awards. This includes the Ani ng Dangal Recognition for International Achievement in Visual Arts in 2015 and the Designer of the Year Award at the Maison et Objet Asia in 2014, among many others. He also has several creations that were featured in popular television shows and films such as “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “Miami,” and “Suits,” proving that he is a force to be reckoned with in the world of design.

Contact details: [email protected]

Jim Zarate-Torres

Beginning a career in design at a young age, Jim Zarate-Torres has already started to make his name known to the industry when he nabbed the top prize at the Red Box Design Talent in 2015. At 23, he was able to establish his own design firm, Zarate Manila, in 2016.

Since then, Jim has been putting out aesthetically pleasing, bold, and unique creations, most of which embody a play on lines with their weaved patterns, under the brand. His works have also been featured in various renowned fairs and shows, including the FAME+ Market Days and the FIND Design Fair Asia.

Contact details: [email protected]

Ito Kish

Margarito “Ito” Kish's journey began with a child's innate curiosity about his surroundings, including the construction of his family's dining chair and the art of weaving market baskets. This curiosity blossomed into a passion for learning the fundamentals of design. Now, his brand, Ito Kish, is wowing the industry with his creations, each bearing a story that emphasizes his Filipino roots.

The Gregoria Chair, for example, is Ito’s award-winning piece that made him stand out from the pack of amazing Filipino designers. Named after his mother, the chair speaks much of his heritage with its baluster-inspired design and its rattan material. It has become Ito’s trademark, but his other works likewise stamp him as a masterful craftsman in the fields of furniture and interior design.

Contact details: +63 917 182 0306 or email [email protected]

Ann Pamintuan

If you’ve stayed at Seda Nuvali before, you have probably seen a few of these cocoon-shaped chairs in one of their lounges. The creator of this exceptional piece is none other than Ann Pamintuan, a Filipina designer renowned for her sophisticated designs and exceptional craftsmanship. To say that she’s an excellent designer is an understatement, as her creations helped the Philippines’ furniture design scene become known internationally.

With her expertise in woven metal, Ann’s craftsmanship did not bind her to furniture. She also ventured into home accessories and jewelry design, which proves just how immensely talented she is. Among her numerous recognitions are Best Product Design for Home Decor at the Manila F.A.M.E. in 2006 and the inclusion of her Cocoon Chair at the 2004 International Design Yearbook in London.

Contact details: [email protected]

Willie Garcia

As an environmental advocate, Willie Garcia sought to prevent plastic materials from ending in landfills and incinerators. Because of this, she embarked on the challenge of making furniture out of upcycled plastic and trash. She even won the grand prize for interior design at the 2007 Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE) National Competition and eventually established the design firm JunkNot.

Among her stunning works is the Anak ng Tupa (Sheep’s Child) chair, a head-turning piece that resembles the fluff furs of a sheep. Being made with upcycled plastics from 15 kilos of food packaging, this work is a statement on human negligence towards animals, wildlife, and the environment.

Contact details: [email protected]

Vito Selma

Armed with an upbringing in the Philippines’ furniture capital, this Cebuano designer had an inkling of the creativity and craftsmanship realm growing up. After gaining numerous awards, including the Outstanding Industrial Design Award in the DOST National Invention Contest & Exhibitions in 2010, 2015, and 2017, Vito started his own business, Casa Selma.

Casa Selma offers pieces that boast intricate weaving patterns, soft cushions, and “thoughtful” designs that could spruce up any space and make people relish the comfort of their homes. Given the beauty of his pieces, many celebrities chose them to complete their homes. You can spot some of Vito’s creations in the houses of Dimples Romana, Team Kramer, and on the pages of numerous international publications.

Contact details: (032) 422 1676 or email [email protected]

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