Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs For the Disney Studios
Disney history is fairly well-researched at this point in time, right?
I love surprises, especially relating to something so basic that it’s hard to fathom how the author decided to research and write about the subject.
Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs For the Disney Studios by David A. Bossert is a glorious tribute to the man who designed the Disney Studios in Burbank and all of the furniture included. And it’s a fantastic surprise.
Yes, the animation desks used by Nine Old Men to animate the Disney classics now have their own book. Well, the animation desks and all of the other custom-designed furniture that served Walt and his animation studio.
Yes, a whole book dedicated to the design of the furniture and the man who created them.
Yes, a book about animation furniture. But it is Disney animation furniture.
See, this is a very important book on the Disney Studios in Burbank. Kem Weber is a fascinating designer who helped launch the designs that led to mid-century modernism. He also took Walt’s ideas and created the campus-like studio complex that we all know and love.
Dave Bossert is an animator and historian who spent decades working on a Kem Weber desk. After writing several books about animation and Disney, he sat down at his Weber desk and realized the unspoken history in the furniture of the Disney Studios created by Kem Weber.
About the Book
The book is presented with 136 pages divided among 12 chapters and various errata. At first blush, the care and quality of the book design and construction are apparent. Bossert embossed the jacket with a wood grain feel that (I assume) is reminiscent of the Weber animation desks. Flipping through the book offers a sensation for the senses: you can feel the gloss of the photos and you can see the mid-century design of the book, itself.
I can’t express enough how beautiful the book is to hold and page through. You will cherish this book and want to share it with fellow bibliophiles.
Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs For the Disney Studios provides background information on Mid-Century Moderne and West Coast Moderne. Bossert also shares the story of the creation of the Burbank studios. The mass of the book, the design and beauty of the animation furniture, pull you into a story that weaves the history of the studio and its animators. When Bossert waxes about one of Walt’s Nine Old Men creating the art that defined animation on these desks, you understand the relevance and weight of the furniture.
What’s Inside Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs For the Disney Studios
Nine chapters cover each major piece of furniture:
- Director’s Desk
- Story Desk
- The Air Line Chair
- Layout Desk
- The Animation Desk
- The Assistant’s and Inbetweener’s Desk
- The Background/Color Keying Desk
- Checker’s Desk
- Ancillary Furniture
Each of the chapters shares design notes on the item, full-color drawings by Weber and photographs of the individual pieces. Many of Weber’s drawings are concept illustrations showing the final layout of the room or office. Bossert explains how the individual pieces were directly used by the animator or artist, including modifications by the animator. Included are images of the different variations, as well.
Bossert explains how each piece was used as well as the part the furniture played in the entire production process. Not only is this a love letter to Weber’s design, but it’s a look at how the animation process developed at the Disney Studios.
The final sections of the book include construction notes, a full-color reference guide to each piece and a gallery with modern images and drawings from Weber’s portfolio. Bossert includes an endnotes section so researchers and fans can explore Bossert’s research.
Should You Buy Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs For the Disney Studios?
Scholars and fans of Disney animation will embrace, if not enshrine, Bossert’s Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs For the Disney Studios. To me, it is the shining example of how to handle a niche historical reference work. Care and love was put into the research, design and presentation of the book. Bossert should be very proud of this book; Disney fans will be proud to have this book in their collection.
Are You Going to Buy This Book?
David also wrote:
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons
- Dali and Destino: The Story, Artwork, and Friendship Behind the Legendary Film
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