Not that impressed with Graves

In this article, BW has a friendly chat with Michael Graves about his industrial designs. He waxes about how important it is that designs be more useful.
Michael Graves: Beyond Kettles

I realize Graves’ designs are a lot of fun. I realize his work with Target brought an awareness of beautiful (or at least whimsical or interesting) everyday product design to the middle class.

I also realize that he’s now in a wheelchair (because of a sinus infection? damn, that’s scary … I’m stocking up on decongestants) and is a very nice man.

But I’ve had several Graves design items from Target, and I’ve never liked any of them. For example, the clock-radio. The button functions are simply bizarre. They’re labeled so subtly (so as not to interfere with the sleek look of each part) that one has to lean a few inches away from it in order to read their functions.

The one under the minutes adjusts the hours, and vice versa. The pretty little semicircle of buttons under the display controls the two different alarms, but it’s really hard to tell how they work. They’re too small and hard to press without pushing the clock off the endtable. The sound of the radio is mediocre at best. And there’s little rhyme or reason to much of the design in general.

But it is definitely cute.