Michael Graves confirmed as Medicine X opening keynote speaker

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I am so pleased to announce that the iconic American architect Michael Graves will give the opening keynote address at Stanford Medicine X on September 29, 2012.  Paralyzed from the chest down due to a central nervous system infection in 2003, Graves has since used his design acumen to reshape the hospital experience by leading a functional and aesthetic transformation of hospital furnishings and equipment.  I can’t think of a more fitting speaker to open a conference on patient-centered innovation of health care at the intersection of emerging technologies!

About Michael Graves

Michael Graves might be the only living architect with household-name status.  But it was a teakettle and not his grand buildings that etched his moniker into the popular consciousness.

The Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture (Emeritus) at Princeton University, Graves, 77, has been at the forefront of design for over 50 years.  A highly respected architect with a broad portfolio of projects ranging from the Walt Disney Co. corporate headquarters in Burbank, Calif., to the Netherlands’ Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport in The Hague, Graves, in 1985, put his mind to a smaller-scale task. His design of the stylish, utilitarian Alessi Teakettle foretold a high-profile future in the user-centered home design front.

Today, the man is known to most Americans as the name on a line of innovative and practical products found on the shelves of retail giant Target. (His partnership with the company dates to 1999.)  From an ice cream scoop to an ice bucket, the Michael Graves Design line incorporates sophisticated design principles into affordable, everyday household objects.

In the wake of a 2003 viral infection that left him paralyzed from the chest down, Graves turned his attention to medical architecture and product design.  Frustrated during his hospital stay by illogical layouts and sinks he couldn’t reach, he set out to rework the patient room experience starting with  tables and chairs designed so that they might actually serve their intended users – people who are often coping with limited mobility.  The aesthetic and functional leap represented in his line is easily apparent to anyone who’s endured a recent hospital stay.

What an impossible task to briefly cover everything Michael Graves is and has achieved.  Just when you think you’ve hit the important identities – preeminent architect, designer, teacher – another one pops up.  We’re thrilled that such a creative mind will be joining us at Medicine X 2012.  Welcome Michael Graves!

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