KEM WEBER, 1889 – 1963, born in berlin, germany, was a furniture- and industrial designer, an architect, art director and teacher. his first name KEM is the short for his full name KARL EMANUEL MARTIN. before he enrolled at the school of decorative arts in berlin in 1908, where he studied with BRUNO PAUL, he was trained as a cabinet maker. already in 1910 he became involved in the construction of the german pavilion at the the brussels world fair. after graduating in 1912 kem worked for the german government on a display for the san francisco PANAMA PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION in 1915. to supervise the project he was sent to san francisco and was stranded there after WW1 ( 1914 – 1918 ) erupted. while teaching in santa barbara, california, kem opened his own design studio, became a U.S.citizen in 1924, and headed to L.A. as an art director for barker bros. furniture. from 1927 on he also designed modern sets for hollywood movies and private residences in his own studio. in 1934 his AIRLINE CHAIR became famous.
kem weber’s design style of POST ART DECO and MODERN STREAMLINE DESIGN got the attention of walt disney who made weber the principle architect for the new disney studios in burbank in the late thirties. kem designed the whole look of the new studio, inclusive all the furniture and the interior architecture. the very specific desks, like the animation desks, layout-, BG- and checking desks, as well as the director’s- and ink&paint desks, are not just brilliant designed in their functionality, they look stunning as well. weber’s design influence became almost iconic with the disney look of the late 30s, he even developed a very special font to be used throughout the studio.
when the new disney studio opened in december 1994 his influence was still visible everywhere, in the interior architecture and furniture, and even the KEM WEBER FONT was visible everywhere. kem weber’s furniture pieces from the old studio, like all different desks and armchairs have become collector’s treasures all over the animation community.
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