Monday, 12 February 2018


Though probably better remembered for his later career as an industrial designer and architect for his contributions to the Walt Disney Studios compound in Burbank, California and a few neighbourhoods of surrounding Hollywoodland, Kem Weber helped to inform the stylistic sleek and iconic “Streamline” look. Moreover, though not a commercial success despite inclusion in the 1928 International Exposition of Art in Industry due to the Great Depression and outbreak of war, Weber introduced the idea of furniture to be assembled by the consumer, rather than transporting a finished piece from the showroom floor a decade before IKEA grew from a workshop into a single outlet and then going on to become a global brand. Weber’s Airline Chair of 1934 was shipped in a cardboard box that was easily toted away, to be put together (with confidence) at home.
Years ahead of the mid-century whose style he defined, Weber was a pioneer but with the infusion of the talent of fellow creative individuals fleeing totalitarian regimes in Europe (of Berlin-extraction, his adopted first name was composed of the initial letters of Karl Emmanuel Martin, wanting to make a less Germanic new persona for himself) and materials and designs derivative of the war-effort, he was not considered on the cutting edge for very long, supplanted by subsequent generations, indebted to his vision.