Vintage Photo Friday
11520 West Olympic Boulevard, WLA, 1953
Today, there are various offices, stores and other industrial buildings on the site. How I wish this one building of mid-20th century design had been preserved.
Sascha Brastoff Designs, Interior
After several expansions, Sascha opened a state of the art factory and studio on W. Olympic Blvd. in West LA in 1953. At the Grand Opening such Hollywood luminaries as Edward G. Robinson, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Mitzi Gaynor made it the party of the year. Sascha counted Joan Crawford, Donna Reed and many other prominent stars as customers. His work commanded high prices for the period.
1961 found Sascha renegotiating his "deal" with his company's financial backer, Rockefeller. Sascha demanded a percentage of profits rather than his lucrative salary. At the end of the year, he was presented with a bill for over $10,000, his share of the company's losses.
In 1963, under severe pressure, Sascha suffered a nervous breakdown. The previously gregarious Sascha became a recluse, debilitated by his condition and afflicted with agoraphobia. Until 1965, he barely left his Military Avenue house in West L.A..
In 1965, friends convinced Sascha to produce again. The hiatus bred some of his most recognized pieces. It was after 1965 that he produced works of Styrofoam and resin.
In 1966, he won a commission to create a 13 foot gold plated cross to adorn the St. Augustine by the Sea Church in Santa Monica, California. The project included four altar candleholders and altar railings.
During Sascha's absence, his company reissued some popular designs and registered "Sascha B." as a trademark name. In 1964, the plant moved to Hawthorne, CA in an attempt to reduce overhead. The company continued to produce designs until 1973, when the factory shut down. Sascha authorized the sale of his name to a variety of companies, including Royal Haegar to produce ceramics, and Marilyn Watoon to create costume jewelry. Marina Metal Arts and Merle Norman Cosmetics used his designs under an agreement with Sascha.
In a 1976 co-venture with the Franklin Mint, Sascha designed a six piece sterling miniature circus. The six piece set featured The Performing Seal, Clown, Butterfly Girl, Ringmaster, and Circus Lion.
In the late '70s, other manufacturers used Sascha's name, including American Bisque Porcelains, and California Jewelsmiths of Beverly Hills.
Sascha battled cancer in the '80s, and did not effectively produce any new pieces. He died in 1993, leaving an endearing legacy of function, vision, and design."