He specializes in product development and design for extreme and minimal environments. His interest in small-scale living spaces grew out of his work in New York on space station interiors and led to doctoral studies at the University of Tokyo on the topic of housing and urban density. For almost a decade he recorded imagery and data on how historical minimalist design philosophy can still be seen embedded in a range of contemporary approaches to lifestyle design, living environments, and the products that bring meaning to daily experience.
He became involved in hospital patient room design after joining the Global University Programs in Healthcare Architecture (GUPHA). The international organization looks at how design education can contribute to addressing the increasingly complex changes happening in hospitals worldwide, due to expanding and ageing populations.
Garvey and his teams have received numerous awards and their prototypes have been presented at conferences and exhibits around the world, bridging both the design and healthcare worlds. He has also been involved in a range of curricular development projects for design education, both within universities and in collaboration with external organizations. Most recently he was invited expert at the 2014 ICSID Interdesign Mumbai, Humanizing a Metropolis, to contribute in the area of housing and shelter. Sponsored by the Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research in Mumbai this work led to a pilot project in Canada to integrate design thinking into design and business collaborations.
He holds a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Carleton University, a M.Sc. in Communications Design from Pratt Institute in New York (funded by Design Canada Scholarships for Design Excellence provided by the Canadian Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Commerce), and a Ph.D. in Architectural Planning from the University of Tokyo (funded by Japanese Ministry of Education (Monbusho) Research Scholarship). He has also received a Michael Kalil Foundation Grant.