Last week, we lost a great visionary in the design community.
Michael Graves July 9, 1934 – March 12, 2015
Check out his gorgeous website here.
Identified as one of The New York Five, as well as Memphis Group, Graves, was an American architect, was known first for his contemporary building designs and some prominent public commissions that became iconic examples of postmodern architecture, such as...
|Denver Public Library|
His recognition grew through designing domestic products sold by premium Italian house wares maker Alessi, and later low-cost new designs at stores such as Target and J. C. Penney in the
. He was a representative of New Urbanism
and New Classical Architecture and formerly designed postmodern buildings,
and was recognized as a major influence in all three movements. United States
Graves was born in
. He attended Indianapolis, Indiana , receiving his diploma in 1952.
He earned a bachelor's degree from the Broad Ripple
High School where he also became a member of
the Sigma Chi fraternity. He earned a master's degree in architecture from University of Cincinnati in 1959. Graves won the Rome Prize in 1960 and spent the next two
years at the Harvard University American Academy
in . Rome
Graves was paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a
spinal cord infection.
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.
In 2000, Graves designed the scaffolding used for the restoration of the
Washington Monument in . During that assignment, which Target Corp sponsored, he met a Target
executive who appreciated his product design and a relationship was formed. He
began designing consumer products for the mass market and Target sold his
products through their store. Washington DC
Concerned about Target's partnerships with other designers with less-successful outcomes, he explored other relationships to bring products to consumers. When the former Target executive became CEO of J.C. Penney,
Graves’s products switched over to
being sold exclusively through J.C. Penney.
Want to find out more about his versatile designs?
Check out Beyond Teakettles by Anne Quito.
Graves became paralyzed, his use of a wheelchair turned
him into a "reluctant health expert", with an increased awareness of accessible
design. He focused his attention on the design of wheelchairs, hospital
furnishings, hospitals, and disabled veteran's housing.
Awards and Honors
On November 22, 2014, the Architectural League of New York held a symposium in his honor, in which several prominent architects such as Steven Holl and Peter Eisenman as well as
himself served as guests and lecturers. From October 13, 2014 until April
5, 2015, the Grounds for Sculpture in held a retrospective exhibition of
his work, entitled Michael Graves: Past as Prologue. Hamilton, New Jersey
Graves died in his Princeton,
home on March 12, 2015 at the age of 80. New Jersey
CBS Sunday Morning says it all beautifully here.