michael graves passes away designboom
michael graves has passed away at his home in princeton, new jersey. his firm, michael graves architecture & design announced that his death was sudden, but peaceful, and of natural causes. he was 80 years old.

michael graves passes away designboom
‘9093 kettle’ by michael graves for alessi



graves was born in indianpolis, indiana in 1934. received his bachelor’s degree from the university of cincinnati, before heading to harvard university where he obtained his masters degree in architecture in 1959. in 1964, graves founded his studio michael graves architecture & design (MGA&D) which over the years has garnered clients that include fortune 100 firms, international developers, educational institutions, governmental agencies and non-profit organizations.

michael graves passes away designboom
‘kitchen timer’ by michael graves for alessi



graves was one of the new york five, alongside peter eisenman, charles gwathmey, john hejduk and richard meier. the group was known for their devotion to pure modern architecture. however, graves eventually defected from this movement and became recognized for his post-modern building aesthetic, as represented by his portland building, completed in 1982; and denver public library, which opened in 2003.

michael graves passes away designboom
‘MGPF’ press filter coffee maker or infuser by michael graves for alessi




the american architect was also a member of the memphis group which developed pieces that were influenced by art deco and pop art movements, conceiving products and furniture that often expressed a kitsch aesthetic, and futuristic approach to design. graves’ involvement with the memphis group are evidenced in the more than 2500 products that MGA&D has brought to market for such clients as alessi, target and disney. among these, he is probably most recognized for his iconic best-selling ‘9093’ kettle for alessi (still a best seller for the italian company), and line of kitchen appliances developed for retail conglomerate target, which really saw him become a household name.


managing director of alessi, alberto alessi has stated of the creative:michael graves’ formal style blends influences from the european tradition, art deco, american ‘pop’, and flashes of pre-columbian culture. he has shown he can bewitch the public like only very few of the designers with whom I’ve worked.’

michael graves portland building designboom
the portland building by michael graves




a statement on MGA&D’s website reads:
for those of us who had the opportunity to work closely with michael, we knew him as an extraordinary designer, teacher, mentor and friend. for the countless students that he taught for more than 40 years, michael was an inspiring professor who encouraged everyone to find their own unique design voice.


of all his accomplishments, michael often said that, like his own family, his proudest creation was his firm. as we go forward was his firm. as we go forward in our practice, we will continue to honor michael’s humanistic design philosophy through our commitment to creating unique design solutions that transform people’s lives.’


plans for a public memorial to be held in princeton will be announced in the near future.  

michael graves denver public library designboom
the denver public library by michael graves