Kem Weber

German (Berlin, Germany, 1889 - 1963)

Trained as a cabinetmaker in his native Berlin, Kem Weber attended the School of Decorative Arts in 1908, where he studied with Bruno Paul.

In 1912 he was appointed to help represent Germany at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Arriving in California just before the outbreak of World War I, Weber became stranded in the U.S. after being denied reentry to Germany.

He consequently opened his first design studio in Santa Barbara, later moving to Los Angeles in 1921 to work for Barker Bros., a prominent furniture house. He opened a new studio in the late 1920s — this time in Hollywood — and took on several architectural commissions, including the Sommer & Kaufman shoe store in San Francisco (1929) and the Friedman residence in Banning (1928-29).

In the 1930s, Weber became interested in the promise of prefabrication to bring well-designed objects to the masses. His famous Airline Chair (1934-35) came disassembled in a flat package, ready to be put together by the consumer.


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