International Decorative Art

Airline Chair

Airline Chair

Design Date 1934

Designer KEM Weber (1889-1963, American, b. Germany)

Manufacturer Airline Chair Company, Los Angeles, CA

Media birch and ash woods, plywood, metal, leather and vinyl upholstery

Dimensions 30 1/2 x 24 1/2 x 34 inches

KEM (Karl Emanuel Martin) Weber designed the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, in 1939 to 1940 from site plan to furnishings. The Airline Chair was incorporated into the facility with Walt Disney Studios commissioning a local woodworker to make 300 Airline Chairs for the offices. The Airline Chair is adapted from the cantilevered chair designs pioneered by Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. When one sits in the upholstered plywood seat hinged to the chair back, the pressure strengthens the frame rails to give the chair strength that is out of proportion with its lightness. The hinged seat and back and the simple, U-shaped legs and arms allow the chair to be packed in a flat box, shipped and easily assembled. The Airline Chair’s streamlined design speaks to its modernism and its representation of the Machine Age. Streamlined design, popular in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, was characterized by its rounded edges, use of the fewest possible number of parts, simplified shapes and application of horizontal lines as decoration.

ON VIEW in Art Deco Gallery 6

Markings Bottom has Disney label with "Serial Number 2084" written on label

Credit Line Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number 2004.0066