"'It’s the only furniture I ever dealt with that had a soul. It had an energy that came off of it.'"

At the close of the 1930s, Walt Disney was putting together his legendary studio complex in California, designed from the ground up to provide his team with everything they needed to do their jobs. Also enjoying success in his field, German architect Kem Weber was pushing the style of modernism in the areas of furniture design and architecture. Searching for someone who could capture his vision completely, Disney struck up a partnership with Weber that led to the designing of a whole new line of furniture that combined flexibility and modulation with extreme specialization. These designs and pieces of furniture served as an iconic hallmark of the Disney Animation Studios for decades after their creation as well as in a resurgence toward the end of the previous century.

The author spent decades working on a Weber desk as a visual effects artist at Disney as the transition occurred from classic methods to the digital age. When he retired from the company, he was allowed to take his Weber desk with him. In his quest to chronicle some of the magic at his former employer, he learned that not much information was available publicly about these master-crafted pieces of furniture, and so he shares that knowledge in this book. With stunning historical photographs, testimonials, insights from the people who spent their time working on these unique pieces of furniture, and concept illustrations by Weber himself, this book unveils yet another chapter in the storied history of the Disney Studios when two visionaries collaborated to make something totally optimized.

With all the knowledge that’s out there about the Disney culture and all the people who clamor for any new detail, it’s surprising to see a book like this release with so much new information to pore over. It stems from the ideal source, however, what with Bossert’s firsthand accounts, company contacts and relationships, and his desire to share the Disney history but also tell his story visually. Many of the key designs that Weber turned to reality get their own dedicated chapters, providing a look at each of the desk or table’s functions and the processes or job tasks required that those functions aid. Sprinkled throughout are interesting bits of history or company stories from the early days of Disney to the present that inject some of the energy that many claim to feel coming from these workspaces. Taking center stage in this book are all of the visual elements, with page after page of beautifully preserved illustrations and photographs. Each one tells its own tale of Weber’s design, Disney’s vision, and the thousands of people who have made use of both to create key elements of popular culture.

There’s almost a texture to the pictures themselves that make them stand out off the page and stimulate all of the senses. Weber’s modernist designs still have an allure to them almost a century later, and the finished products are so structured and organized that the reader will want something similar for themselves. Anyone with a passion for Disney history will love the author’s presentation and insider knowledge captured in this book. Though it may seem like a very niche, specific topic, the level of design and craftsmanship will catch the eye of buffs of architecture, design, animation, woodworking, or simply striking aesthetics.

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