Kem Weber: Furniture Designs for the Disney Studios

by Dave Bossert

CA

As a published author, I have a continuous stream of ideas and topics that I would like to write about which I keep an ongoing list of on my desk. Some of those projects are often considered too small or are niche subjects, not of interest to the established publishing houses. Yet, they are important, relevant topics that deserve some form of documentation in print. These are often referred to as monographs; a specialized work of writing or treatise on a single subject.

One such project that I would like to fund is titled Kem Weber: Furniture Designs for the Disney Studios. Weber is a well-known mid-century architect who was part of a distinctive movement known as West Coast modernism. He influenced California style during the mid-twentieth century and his chair designs, including his famed airline chair, are now part of the furniture collections at museums.

Weber, a German immigrant, was noted for designing many iconic buildings in San Francisco and Los Angeles including the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank in 1939. He also designed much of the specialized animation furniture that went into the new studio at that time. But, not much has been written about the studio furniture, which has been lauded in recent years.

I am embarking on a monograph that will explore, in-depth, and document the various pieces of furniture Weber designed specifically for the Walt Disney Animation Studios. The research will encompass the architect’s personal papers and drawings. It will include photographs of surviving pieces and details on the design, use, and construction of each piece of furniture along with a description of why the piece was designed in a certain way to accommodate a particular animation discipline. By the way, I write at a vintage, circa 1939, Kem Weber animation desk everyday, which you can see in the video and photo above.

The budget for this project includes costs associated with research, image fees, design and layout, and the physical production/printing of the book. The largest single part of the budget is the design, layout, and printing of the actual book, which is a limited edition of no more than one thousand copies for the first edition and one thousand copies for the second editions, if needed. The cover design will be distinctive for each edition ensuring collectabilty for this limited-edition. The finished work will be a published book made available to the project supporters, museum shops, independent book stores, online, and other specialty locations.

I want to thank you in advance for considering this worthy project and being part of a community genrously documenting history for generations to come. Sites like this one offer an opportunity to bring together great people, like you, that can pool their resources for the greater good. That is a wonderful thing for all of us. 

What has been said about some of my previous books:

“For fans it is no surprise, and for students it should be a lesson, that there is no better source for what we were up to in the latter era of Disney Animation than Dave BossertRoy Disney’s trusted colleague and a deep veteran of countless films, Dave has the clearest POV on all things Disney Animation of anyone I know.”           

–Thomas Schumacher- The Walt Disney Company

Dave Bossert gives us an insider’s look at the production of a paramount achievement in animation and art. We learn about the culture of Disney studios through the years and the remarkable meeting of Disney and Dali which comes to feel destined. Further we get original insights into the character of Dali – at once, agreeable, hard-working, as well as eccentric.”

— Hank Hine, Executive Director, The Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL

Walt Disney and Salvador Dali were among Andy Warhol’s favorites and he probably would have loved their collaborative film, Destino.  Certainly the marriage of art and commerce, painting and film that Destino represents was at the center of Warhol’s artistic practice. Dave Bossert lovingly reconstructs the decades spent conceiving, executing and eventually bringing the film to the screen.  Perhaps most moving and important, however, is the evident pride the contemporary Disney team took in bringing the project to fruition.  As Bossert quotes Roy Disney regarding Destino, “Our roots are in art, in that side of the world rather the commercial side. It’s important that we keep remembering that.”

— Patrick Moore, Deputy Director, The Andy Warhol Museum