Origins: Michael Sanchez & The Mid Century Design Explosion

We are proud to have achieved 50 years of service as a professional graphic design firm. In the Fall of 1965, Michael Sanchez incorporated the company that would become Sanchez/Kamps Associates Design doing business as SKA Design.

The story of the origin of SKA Design is the story of Michael Sanchez. Michael Sanchez’ design career began in the 1950’s at the start of the design explosion in architecture, interior design, furniture, and consumer products. It was an energetic time. Everyone was amazed that they were being paid to do design. Today, Mike is retired and living in Pasadena. He remains active on the SKA Design Board of Directors, where he continues to encourage and inspire the team.

Mike was born in 1928. After returning from Germany (where he surveyed ground conditions and interpreted aerial reconnaissance photos following the end of WWII), Mike enrolled in courses at Chouinard Art School. There, he studied product and industrial design, graphics, furniture design, interior design, and lighting from his teacher and mentor, Bill Moore.

Mike worked at the architecture firm of Periera & Luckman, where his multidisciplinary training enabled him to deal with all aspects of interior design and architecture. He worked in Los Angeles, Denver, and New York (at 51st and Madison Avenue, during the Mad Men 1960’s era).

It was while working for Kurt Meyer and Associates in Los Angeles in 1964 that Mike was inspired to start his own firm. Calling the firm “Michael Sanchez and Associates,” Mike started by supporting Kurt Meyer’s projects, particularly financial institutions and large corporate buildings. Due to his reputation for excellent design as well as his easy manner, the firm’s client base expanded to include most of Los Angeles’ prominent architects.

From its office in the historic Granada Building near downtown, the firm worked on projects for the Los Angeles International Airport and all of United California Bank’s offices in California, the United States, London and Brussels, as well as a number of projects in the Middle East. The firm provided everything from interior design, space planning, graphics and collateral materials and artwork selection.

Mike became a frequent lecturer at design conferences around the world including the International Parking Congress in Rome. He joined the USC Architectural Guild, eventually becoming its president. He joined the Board of the burgeoning Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD, now the Society for Experiential Design). He also taught environmental design and space planning at the Art Center.