In 2003, famed architect Michael Graves was struck by a serious infection that left him with paraplegia. Graves is widely known in non-architecture circles for his amusing designs for Target; since his illness, he has begun to design disability aids that demonstrate the sense of playfulness evident in his Target collection.
In addition to the showerhead and tub handle shown here, I’ve seen pictures of two canes, one with an innovative fold, and one with an elliptical, ergonomic, handle. All seem distinctively Graves to me, and pleasing in a whimsical, Gravesian way. I wasn’t crazy about the orange, but Graves has explained that he is color-coding some of the functions: orange or yellow indicates a section where the device adjusts. That visual cue is a pretty good reason for putting a stunning, unexpected color into the mix.
Graves’ partnership with Drive Medical was announced in 2005; these pictures have turned up on the Internet much more recently. None of these pieces I mention above appear to be for sale anywhere, although this Graves-designed heating pad is available. It’s priced near $60 (USD) without any apparent exceptional features to justify the price; I’m thinking that when the other devices come to market, they may not sell at Target-type prices. (Though there is that orange adjustable strap . . . )
But I’m holding out hope — in this Business Week interview, Graves hints that he has price in mind, as well as design and function, as he moves forward with these products.