The collection
Curved black telephone and answering machine with blue and yellow buttons.

Telephone & Answering System

Designed by
Michael Graves (1934–2015)
ABS plastic, rubber
Produced by
China for Target, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Telephone: 14 x 19.8 x 17.5 cm, Answering System: 9 x 14 x 14 cm

The Liliane and David M. Stewart Program for Modern Design, gift of Dr. Michael Sze, 2010.63, 2018.3

Michael Graves was one of the best-known American postmodern architects. In 1999, he began designing products for Target, establishing a brand for the company as a leader in design of low-cost everyday objects. Graves favored a soft blue as his signature color for products and packaging, seen in the buttons on this telephone and accompanying answering machine.

Both forms were inspired by American streamlined designs of the 1930s. Graves collaborated with Target for thirteen years, designing over 2,000 products, the most famous of which is a whistling tea kettle.

The Stewart Program for Modern Design, photo: Denis Farley.