Travelogue: Philippines (Cebu)

Rattan is a strong part of Filipino cultural material tradition and Cebu is known through out the Philippines for its strong tradition in rattan furniture making. During my residency I visited Cebu to learn about both the traditional and innovative techniques furniture makers use.

There I was very fortunate to be able to visit the world re-known rattan furniture designer Kenneth Cobenpue’s studio and factory to gain an understanding of the expansive possibilities of the medium and potential innovative approaches.


To discover rattan’s sculptural possibilities I also needed to learn the essential techniques of traditional furniture making. I spent a few days at Junior’s – a cottage industry rattan furniture workshop which is situated under his house.

The techniques I learnt there gave me a strong understanding of frame making and weaving and it was with this knowledge that I returned to my studio in Manila. There I  began to experiment with rattan frame making and applying it to sculptural forms and concepts working towards an exhibition that was to be held at the end of my residency.

Fiona Gavino