Mattel renames design center in honor of founders

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Mattel has renamed its design center at its Southern California headquarters the Handler Team Center in honor of founders Ruth and Elliot Handler.

“Mattel’s vision – Creating the Future of Play – actually began in the company’s earliest days with Ruth and Elliot Handler and continues today with the same type of creativity and innovation they instilled in Mattel at its start,” Mattel CEO Bryan Stockton said. “In order to successfully grow our company, we must honor our heritage and take the inspiration and innovative thinking from our founders, who were both true visionaries.”

The Handlers, who founded the company in 1945, were behind some of the most iconic toys in the industry's history including:  Barbie, the first doll on the market that wasn’t a baby doll but rather a teenage fashion model, creating an entirely new and groundbreaking play experience for girls; Hot Wheels, one of the first toy cars that had wheels that actually moved on a track, resulting in a more interactive play experience; Chatty Cathy, the first talking doll, revolutionizing the toy industry with the unique and innovative sound mechanism invented to make her talk, spawning countless interactive toys, including Mattel’s See ‘N Say brand.

The Handler Team Center houses hundreds employees who represent a variety of functions for the global Mattel brands, including design, product development, marketing, packaging, inventor relations, franchise development, entertainment production and consumer products design, among others. The center boasts a full recording studio, model shop, electronics laboratory, chemistry laboratory and cafeteria.

The 200,000-sq.-ft. structure was originally built in 1954 as a factory to manufacture aircraft parts. Mattel moved into the building in 1990, and it went through an internal design refresh in 2009 in order to create a more creative and collaborative work environment. The Handler Design Center currently features a ramp at the front door which slopes up from the parking lot, allowing full-sized Hot Wheels cars to drive right into the building. It also houses an extensive collection of Hot Wheels cars from a variety of decades.