Michael Graves (July 9, 1934 – March 12, 2015)
Michael Graves is one of the most prominent and prolific American architects of the latter 20th century. It was often said he injected more childlike exuberance into his buildings and product designs than any of his contemporaries. He has more than 350 buildings to his name, but is perhaps best known for his tea kettle and pepper mill for Alessi.
Since founding his firm in Princeton in 1964, Mr. Graves designed everything from office buildings, resorts and retail stores to hospitals, monuments and university buildings. As an architect with a firm foot in the post-modern camp, his work was often divisive, particularly as the backlash towards post-modernism grew. In 1985, Graves designed a stainless steel teakettle featuring a red whistle shaped like a bird for the Italian company Alessi, which became the company’s all-time bestselling product.
From 2003, Graves was paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a spinal cord infection. His use of a wheelchair turned him into a “reluctant health expert”, with an increased awareness of accessibility in design. He focused his attention on the design of wheelchairs, hospital furnishings, hospitals, and disabled veteran’s housing. Today Graves is still recognised at one of the greatest Architects of the 20th century but its his 9093 kettle for Alessi which has made his name known outside his field.