Graves first ventured into medical product design with the Michael Graves Active Living Collection for a durable medical equipment manufacturer based in New York. Now, just like at Target, Graves' recognizable signature is on the company's heating pads, tub rails, shower seats, and a nifty bag cane—a height-adjustable cane that folds up into a bag with a shoulder strap.
From those small, personal health products, Graves has since moved on to bigger projects, including hospital room furniture. Stryker Medical is now selling a Michael Graves-designed suite that includes a chair, overbed, one over-the-bed table, and two different side tables.
"Working with Stryker is like working with family," says Graves. "They get it."
What Stryker "gets," says Graves, is that good product design is always person-, or in this case, patient-centric.
"Everything that we do is centered around the individual. … We imagine that person; many of them are going to be just fine, but there's going to be an occasional one who's arthritic or who is very elderly and can't do certain things, and we want to make those things active for them, not difficult, but gratifying. It is about design, but there's always a human being who is the client."