Kem Weber

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Kem Weber (1889–1963) was a furniture and industrial designer, architect, art director, and teacher who created several iconic designs of the 'Streamline' style.

Early career

Born Karl Emanuel Martin Weber in Berlin, Germany, Weber initially trained under the royal cabinet maker Eduard Schultz in Potsdam, before enrolling at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Decorative Arts) in Berlin in 1908 where he studied under Bruno Paul. Graduating in 1912, Weber went on to work in Paul's office, having previously assisted his tutor in the design of the German pavilion at the 1910 'Exposition Universalle' in Brussels.

It was the design of a second pavilion that provide to be the turning point in Weber's career. Paul sent his assistant to San Francisco, California to supervise work on the German pavilion being built for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. However, Weber was soon overtaken by other international events. The onset of World War I prevented him from returning home despite the construction of the pavilion being suspended, leaving him stranded in California.

American Success

Seeing greater opportunity in the New World, Weber stayed in the United States after the war ended, later becoming a U. S. citizen in 1924. In this respect, he is an early exemplar of the kind of progressive European talent whose immigration so enriched 20th century American design: a trend that accelerated in the 1930s after the...
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