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Design for All
Michael Graves Design, credited with the democratization of design, came after decades of pioneering design work, and an Amtrak delay on the Northeast Corridor Line.
In 1997, Target was opening its first store near Washington, DC. To make a big splash and to contribute to the new market, Target’s marketing team, lead by Bob Thacker, partnered with the National Parks Service. Target paid to restore the Washington Monument. Target hired Michael Graves to design the scaffolding for the project. The design challenge was to bring lots of attention to the monument during the restoration and to find a way for the important, iconic structure to appeal to visitors and locals during the multiyear restoration.
Our scaffolding design solution followed the profile of the monument, illuminated the obelisk from ground to tip, and was embellished with blue translucent mesh fabric. The pattern of the mesh reflected at an exaggerated scale the running bond pattern of the Monument’s masonry façade, thus telling the story of what was being repaired. The design was so popular that many people wanted the scaffolding to stay up permanently. While that wasn’t feasible, the scaffolding did remain up for the National millennial celebration in 2000, when the Monument was featured in a dramatic fireworks display.
While working on the scaffolding, there was a project meeting in our Princeton offices. While Target’s executives flew in from Minneapolis, the National Parks Service team took Amtrak up from DC. As luck would have it, their trains were delayed. Michael brought the Target team to our product design studio, which included an archive room and a company store. It was at that moment that Target started to wonder if there was a way to expand our partnership into a product design relationship.
In 1997, Target was the third largest mass market retailer well behind Walmart and Kmart. Target already offered a better shopping experience than the others and developed the nickname Tarzhay. Target didn’t want to compete on price against their larger peers, yet their merchandise assortment wasn’t unique or original. It was at a lunch meeting with Michael Graves that Ron Johnson, Target’s Vice President of Home Merchandising, had a brilliant idea and posed a question to Michael. “Would you like to do some products for Target?” Ron was aware of Michael Graves’ work with Alessi and other high-end manufacturers – creating original products that created trends rather than followed trends. Ron knew there were factories lined up to make any products that Target wanted to sell. Ron felt design could become Target’s competitive advantage. Michael immediately told Ron, “I would love to bring design to people at better value. To democratize it.” Target’s Chairman and CEO Bob Ulrich saw Ron’s vision, and with that conversation, what became Target’s ultra-successful Design for All strategy was born. Fast Company calls this one of the “10 Conversations That Changed Our World.”
Before Target, the Michael Graves company provided design consulting services for others brands like Alessi, Disney, and Lenox, and those clients marketed the products as designed by Michael Graves. But at Target, the products were branded Michael Graves Design, and our business transformed from design consultancy to consumer brand. Michael Graves Design became the company who made the really cool products in the light blue box that always drove customers back into the stores to see what was new. Target grew like a rocket, the media proclaimed the “Democratization of Design” was born in America and countless other fashion and design partnerships were created revolutionizing Americans expectations for great design. Since then, Michael Graves Design has been sold at retailers including Target, HomeGoods, Williams Sonoma, HSN and countless others. And now, its also available right here at MichaelGravesDesign.com.
As a long-time Stratego player, I've recently come across the Michael Graves edition of the game. The design is brilliant! It is unique in that the ranks of the pieces are represented by their head garments as opposed to a full profile with a face. I find Graves' approach to be cleaner and more sustainable. The board design is quite nice as well, the ivory and black colored pieces contrast nicely with the neutral green color of the board.
The folding cane is a dream. Functional. Handsome. Great colors, esp the blue. I only wish it came with one more setting for us shorties. People ask me about it everywhere, and I always recommend it.
I have been a fan of all things Michael Graves from his architecture, to his personal artwork, to his small goods that he and his design team have created. The products are useful and creative.
I have been using this take along folding cane for a few weeks now and I absolutely love it. I keep this cane in my car and use it whenever I leave the house. It is so easy to fold up and keep on my back seat for easy retrieval. With a simple push of a button, I can easily adjust the height. The 4-prong foot makes it easy to have my cane standing beside me at all times so it's ready for me when I need it.This is quickly becoming my favorite cane.
I received this cane and tried it out. I liked the comfort of the hand grip. This cane had a good hand grip which I liked, it was the best cane I ever used. I highly recommend everyone to use this great cane.
This is the perfect shower chair! It's not too big and it's not too small, it's just right. I really like that it can be a stool or a backed chair . Very helpful and sturdy, no fear of falling out . I would recommend
I got this for my elderly mom who has trouble walking when she first gets up due to arthritis, and also stumbling at night. She is on the heavy side. This chair is well made, sturdy and easy to empty, clean. It adjusts easily to her height.
Mom needed it after a surgery. Michael Graves raised seat fits securely on the toilet, it's sturdy and easy to put on and take off of the commode.
I really love this Cane, it was just what I needed. I have had a knee replacement but sometimes I need something to lean on. This Cane adjusts to whatever height I want & I can change the bottom of it to help me walk better. It's really easy to put together & take apart.
The CVS Health Easy Fold Travel Walker by Michael Graves Design is a great product. It is very stable, and also folds up nicely when traveling. It has breaks that work great. It is a nice, light walker.
Well made, smart looking and would purchase again.
Very comfortable and well built. Strong and good quality.
A little tricky to get together, but it’s very great.
I really like this cane. It has an adjustable height that is easy to move, which makes the cane much more comfortable and useful. The comfort grip is nice and definitely helps prevent slipping. It is durable and has helped quite a bit with my walk and gait.
This raised toilet seat makes a world of difference to the accessibility to the bathroom, especially after surgery or other procedures. Will definitely recommend it to a friend. This fit on my commode easily with very little adjustments.
Very very easy to set up and to easily take down to be able to store even in a compact car. I use this product as an easier walker to transport for my husband when he needs to use the walker when we go out in public. It is very sturdy to be used and my husband said it is very reliable. Well worth its value and we would buy again if needed.
Got this for a family member who had a stroke. During his transition from walker to cane, this was a great cane to use. Handle is soft and ergonomic. Has a button for height adjustment Can hold up to 300pds. Additionally it’s light and comes with two interchangeable feet- one is a cane tip and another is quad-feet for more support.
Shower chairs are very simply that, a chair to be used in your shower. I have to say this isn't the first I've owned and I like the versatility of this one. It can be set up as a stool or a chair with a back, depending on your needs. It also has an adjustable height making it suitable for individuals of different heights.
Best commode ever . Comfortable, elongated seat, allows good positioning, easy to put together. Most CVS’s were “out of stock “. I drove north of Tampa to pickup last one! Should make this product more available. ( mother of disabled daughter… very thankful to Michael Graves Design.)
The CVS Health Raised Toilet Seat is perfect. It's just the right height for me. It is so easy to assemble and so easy to clean. The instructions included are simple to read and understand. I am very pleased with this product.
So useful! Great walker. Easy to use, fold and stylish too! I got this for my mom as she recently had back surgery and it’s so simple to fold - she’s able to do it by the bedside and as she’s getting into and out of the car. She loves that it’s blue (the color we got) and smaller in stature. Her insurance covered a huge one we can barely fit through doorways; it’s crazy! The handles on this one conform to her hands better and the wheels turn so much easier as well. Definitely a great buy and at a good price!