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Michael Graves, champion of accessible design, is appointed to Obama administration post

Posting in Architecture

Michael Graves, the renowned architect and designer, is now a member of President Barack Obama's administration. He was recently appointed to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (also known as the Access Board). It's the federal agency that addresses accessibility for the disabled. Graves is paralyzed from the waist down.

The White House first announced President Obama's "intent to appoint" Graves, founder of the 49-year-old firm Michael Graves & Associates (and its spinoff Michael Graves Design Group), last month. Graves, who taught architecture at Princeton University for nearly four decades, is perhaps most widely known for the long-term partnership he had with retailer Target. Beginning in 1999, Graves created the Michael Graves Design Collection for Target, one of the first collaborations between an innovative, well-recognized designer and a chain store. They shared the goal of making well-designed goods available to mass-market audiences. The collection included an iconic whistling kettle among the 2,000-plus products Graves created with Target. (Graves stopped designing for the chain in 2012.)

For a candid interview with Graves, check out this short video from Dwell magazine, below. In it, Graves welcomes viewers into his home and discusses his philosophy on designing for people with disabilities -- including himself. With his appointment to the Access Board, his vision and grace will have even more of a broad reach and impact.

[via Dezeen, Good, etc.]

Image: still from Dwell video.

— By on February 7, 2013, 11:54 AM PST

Reena Jana

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Reena Jana has written for the New York Times, Wired, Harvard Business Review online, Fast Company, Architectural Record, Artforum, Time Out New York, Harper's Bazaar, and GQ. Previously, she was the innovation department editor at BusinessWeek. She holds degrees from Columbia University and Barnard College. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure