Designing with Dignity Exhibition Opens at Kean University

Americas, News, April 13 2016

Designing with Dignity, a new exhibition celebrating accessible design, opened at Kean University on Thursday, March 31, in conjunction with the Thinking Creatively Conference.

The exhibition showcases innovative environments and products, created by the award-winning firm Michael Graves Architecture and Design (MGA&D), for those with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other disabilities.

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Wounded Warrior Home Project, Fort Belvoir, V.A. Photo: Kean University

In 2009, MGA&D formed a design partnership with medical technology company Stryker to address “the last frontier in healthcare design, the patient room.” The two companies worked together to conduct months of ethnographic research, studying clinical environments and patient use. The result of this joint venture was a suite of patient room furniture demonstrating Graves’ philosophy that objects in healthcare environments can have both a practical and aesthetic function, incorporating straightforward solutions that combine simple utility and technical innovation. The furniture collection, co-branded Michael Graves – Stryker, created a new brand identity for Stryker, establishing the firm as a design driven company.  Products from the collaboration, including the Prime TC transport chair, are included in Designing with Dignity.

“Hospitals are constantly evolving to improve patient outcomes, yet a key piece of equipment that is ubiquitous, the wheelchair, has gone unaltered since it was patented in 1933,” said Karen Nichols, FAIA, MGA&D. “The Prime TC is the result of a thorough product development process undertaken to transform seated patient transport. With clearly designed touchpoints, movable not removable parts and the ability to nest for storage, the Prime TC is designed to offer solutions for the patient, caregiver and hospital.”

The exhibition also highlights the Wounded Warrior Home Project, an initiative designed to improve overall quality of life for the increasing number of service men and women returning to active duty. The Wounded Warrior Home Project called for the design of single family prototype homes intended to serve the needs of wounded soldiers and their families as they continue to serve on active duty in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The innovative and accessible Graves-designed homes have spurred a national dialogue about the importance of barrier-free design. The homes utilize universal design principles to create dignified solutions with an accessible human-centered focus.

Designing with Dignity is on view now through April 30 at Kean University.  To learn more visit:

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