Decoding Design

Target shoppers: Say goodbye to Michael Graves' budget-friendly design

Target shoppers: Say goodbye to Michael Graves' budget-friendly design

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Ending a 13-year run, Target will discontinue selling products from the Michael Graves Design Collection.

Our own C.C. Sullivan has called product designer Michael Graves the "maestro." Indeed, Graves heads a firm that has brought the word "design" back into household goods -- household goods purchased at Target, anyway. And he kicked off a major design focus for the budget retailer. Since Target started carrying Graves products in 1999, it has commissioned low-cost (and often limited) Target collections from numerous other high-end designers, including Isaac Mizrahi, Alexander McQueen, Orla Kiely and Missoni.

Michael Graves, Spinning Whistle Teakettle

But the Graves era is ending. Target announced this month that it will discontinue selling the Michael Graves Design Collection at the end of the year, with the collection arriving in Target stores next month.

A Target press release doesn't give any background on its decision, but notes that the partnership brought more than 2,000 kitchen, storage and cleaning products, including Graves' iconic Pop Art Toaster and Spinning Whistle Teakettle, to market.  The partnership also led to many architectural projects at major locations, including the Washington Monument Restoration, the Elephant Fountain at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and the Target Wing of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

For his part, Graves says: "Target has been a wonderful partner who has afforded me an opportunity to bring great design to America on a scale that was unimaginable before our partnership. I am very proud of the design work and its legacy, and I look forward to continued opportunities to design great products for American homes.”

There's no telling where lovers of cheap chic will go for their tea kettles and drying racks in the future.

Image of Michael Graves from Target.com

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Mary Catherine O'Connor

Contributing Writer

Mary Catherine O'Connor has written for Outside, Fast Company, Wired.com, Smithsonian.com, Entrepreneur, Earth2Tech.com, Earth Island Journal and The Magazine. She is based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure