“It Was Too Ugly to Die in There”


After realizing that hospital wheelchairs haven’t been updated in 90 years, Michael Graves made this new one.

Michael Graves, the designer who improved tea kettles for the masses thanks to his partnership with Target stores, recently took on a new challenge.

The original hospital wheelchair, apparently still in widespread use, was based off a design from way back in 1933. Graves decided to update it, and also worked on other hospital equipment to be of better use and more comfort to patients.

Graves’ interest in the field came when he was hospitalized from a severe sinus infection, and eventually became paralyzed. His limited recovery required several years and numerous stints in rehab centers.

“It was too ugly to die in there,” he said of his extended hospital stays. (Isn’t that the greatest quote?)

Graves is now 79 and considers this his final work.

Graves isn’t in it for the rewards, he’s in it for the legacy, the chance to right a wrong that he has known so intimately himself. “I’m going to do as many of these as I can,” he says, “before I croak.”

It’s also a good reminder: you can have a legacy project no matter how old you are or what stage of life you’re in.


Original article: Quartz

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