The Phoenix

No, your eyes aren't playing tricks! World-renowned Filipino furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue has created what is quite possibly the first and only bamboo and rattan car in the world

29 Mar 2011

Appearing like a sleek bird poised for flight, Phoenix is an experiment in automobile design that is drawing curious attention in the design world.

This is Kenneth Cobonpue’s first such attempt at designing a car which, unsurprisingly, sees the award-winning designer’s trademark use of natural, native materials, craft techniques and clean, streamlined forms.

Made of rattan, bamboo, steel and carbon fibre, the eco-friendly concept car is a creative exercise that underscores the increasing push towards craft, artisanship and sustainability. It might not get you to your destination in super quick time – and perhaps that’s not the point – but it certainly explores the possibility of sustainable alternatives to our current means of commute.



Phoenix was presented at the “Imagination and Innovation” exhibition in Via Tortona, Milan earlier this year, which had designers and artists from around the world showcasing their work in a museum-like setting.

Cobonpue took months to design the Phoenix, with the help of a design apprentice from Germany, but only a mere 10 days for the build. A spine curves across the body to the rear where it forms a splay of rattan with LED rods that emit light. Space is also allocated here for the engine.

The Phoenix brings new meaning to Cobonpue’s unique products and, although we may not all be driving around in one in the future, is an exciting glimpse of using materials in new ways.


Kenneth Cobonpue

Kenneth Cobonpue’s furniture collection is available at Proof Living in Singapore and KE-ZU in Australia.