The Michael Graves Story
After decades as an award-winning architect and professor, it's a whistling tea kettle that has truly made Michael Graves a household name. The kettle in question was the first product that Graves designed for the Italian design factory Alessi in 1985. The request was for something design-oriented but practical, able to boil water quicker than anything else on the market. So Graves came up with a broad-based form-with Art Deco and American "pop"-inspired design-complete with a removable red bird-shaped whistle.
Noteworthy Products from Graves
The 9093 Kettle, aka the Michale Graves Tea Kettle, became an instant bestseller and even today remains on of the most popular products from Alessi. So successful, it set the stage for the similarly-shaped family of products to follow, including the Michael Graves kitchen collection, with a creamer, kitchen timer, sugar bowl and etcetera, all with that same distinctive shape and blue/red/chrome color palette. There's even a smaller version of the original: the Kettle with Bird Whistle Miniature.
As a self-proclaimed general practitioner, Graves continues exploring the design of all kinds of products. Over the years, the Michael Graves Design Group has designed over 1,800 products for home, office and personal use, including the line of Michael Graves coffee makers and accessories, lighting, furniture, storage solutions, garden tools and other bath and kitchen implements. As one would expect, several of these are tea kettles.
In His Own Words
"Somebody once asked me, 'Aren't you tired of designing kettles?' - because I did one every year or two," Graves recalls. "But architects love to rethink a project; that's what we do. If something is successful, like a house or, in this case, a kettle, it's a great compliment when someone wants another one."