Architect And Housewares Designer Michael Graves Passes

Postmodern architect and designer of whimsical home goods, Michael Graves, has died. According to a statement from his firm, Michael Graves Architecture & Design (MGA&D), Graves passed away yesterday of natural causes at his home in Princeton, New Jersey. He was 80 years old.

Graves was a celebrated architect who designed such famous buildings and resorts including The Portland Building in Oregon; The Humana Building, a 26-foot skyscraper, in Louisville, Kentucky; and the Dolphin and Swan hotels in Walt Disney World.

He became best known to mass consumers through his celebrated lines of commissioned home goods for Target and JC Penney and various manufacturers such as Alessi, Dansk, Black & Decker and Duravit.

Graves designed the iconic whistling bird tea kettle for Alessi. Alberto Alessi, president of Alessi, issued the following statement about Graves’ passing: “I was saddened to hear the bad news. The last time we met in Philadelphia, even in a wheel chair, Michael was so energetic. We were thinking to organize something special for the events we are preparing around Michael-Alessi collaboration for 2015… and the new project with Michael that we will unveil shortly: the ‘Tea Rex Kettle’! Michael, as you well know, has been for Alessi one of the leading authors and design heroes, and for me, personally, one of my most important maestros. I’ll never forget his contribution to our history.”

Graves’ line for Target also included whimsical tea kettles, among other practical items such as a stainless steel colander, frosted wall clock, steak knife set, among many others. Graves’ work on more than 1,000 consumer products, as previously reported by HOMEWORLD BUSINESS, brought his postmodern design aesthetic to the masses.

Graves was also the recipient of several awards and honors. Among some of the highlights, the National Medal of Arts was awarded to him by President Bill Clinton in 1999 and a gold medal from the American Institute of Architects in 2001. In 2004, Graves was a recipient of a Humanitarian Award from the Housewares Charity Foundation.

According to his firm’s website, plans for a public memorial will be announced in the future.