Mid-Century Furniture Designs
for the Disney Studios
By David A. Bossert
A stunning tribute to the lifelong friendship and collaboration of Salvador Dali and Walt Disney. In 1945, the two began working on a project together, intended to be a short animated film called Destino. Dali partnered with Disney Legend John Hench to storyboard the film, but production was brought to a halt because of financial difficulties. Over fifty years later, Walt's nephew Roy E. DisneKem Weber (1889—1960), a well-known mid-century architect, was part of the distinctive West Coast modernism movement that helped shaped the relaxed California lifestyle. He influenced California style during the mid-twentieth century with building architecture, interior designs and furniture, including his famed Air Line chair, which is part of many museum furniture collections.
As chief designer for the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank in 1939, Kem Weber also designed the specialized animation furniture that went into the then new studio complex. The Disney animation furniture, which has been lauded in recent years, was designed for specific animation disciplines with input from the artists who would be using it. It was all part of Walt Disney’s desire to create an efficient utopian campus for animated film production.
This book is a comprehensive overview of the Kem Weber designed animation furniture for the Disney Studios that takes the reader on a journey from concept sketches and photos to interviews with legendary artists. David A. Bossert celebrates and details the form and function of this unique mid-century furniture and the impact it had on the Disney artists and animation process over the decades.y decided to give it new life. The film went on to be nominated for an Academy Award in 2004. This volume showcases all 150 pieces of art created by Dali and Hench. Also, the sole piece of animation art that was filmed in 1946 is showcased in a series of images explaining how it was digitally cut apart, restored and then reassembled for the 2003 completed film version.
“In his authoritative new work, Kem Weber: Furniture Designs for the Disney Studios, Dave Bossert once again shows a fusion of erudition and passion for his subject, introducing a new generation to a remarkable and sadly-neglected artist, and documenting the significant and timeless cross-disciplinary design portfolio he created for Walt Disney.”
Author and Disney Historian
“Designers have long acknowledged Kem Weber's furniture for Walt Disney’s studio in Burbank as beautiful yet utilitarian mid-century modern masterpieces. Now, for the first time, Disney artist and author Dave Bossert reveals the thoughtful approach with which Weber and Walt Disney himself developed these pieces, and explores their contribution to the creation of the animated classics beloved the world over.”
— Paula Sigman Lowery
Author and Disney Historian
“Dave Bossert honors the important under-noticed things most of us seldom think about. Here he is, after a distinguished career as a Disney animator and exec, he’s written this book about the innovative studio furniture that made animated production possible from1939 until digital technology changed the processes. What a fascinating read!”
Poet and Author
“A few years ago, Dave Bossert authored a beautiful book about an obscure chapter in the history of Disney Studios: a time when Walt Disney and Salvador Dali collaborated on an animated project. [Dali & Disney: Destino]. Now Dave honors the late architect and designer, Kem Weber and catalogs the custom studio furniture he designed with Walt Disney. The furniture helped to make Disney animations possible through the years since 1939. Thank you Dave for your meticulous attention!”
—Judith Simon Prager
Author: What the Dolphin Said
“Kem Weber’s futuristic yet functional furniture was masterfully designed and skillfully crafted for just one purpose: to streamline the creation of the world’s most entertaining animated movies. Long overlooked, this book tells the story behind these stylish and elegant wooden works of art, which makes the heart of this animation veteran skip a beat!”
Animation Director & Historian