The architecture world has lost one of its great influential figures, as Michael Graves passed away yesterday at age 80. “It is with deep sadness that Michael Graves Architecture & Design (MGA&D) announces the firm’s Founding Principal Michael Graves has passed away today, suddenly and peacefully, of natural causes. He was in his home in Princeton, New Jersey”, the firm announced.
Graves founded his practice in 1964 in Princeton, becoming a pioneering figure in Postmodernism. Among his works are Portland Building and the Humana Building, the extension of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Team Disney Building in Burbank, California, as well as a series of iconic kitchenware items for Alessi.
Michael Graves has been for Alessi one of the leading authors and design heroes, and for me one of my most important maestros. I’ll never forget his contribution to our history.
Difficult to believe.
First introduced in 1984, the 9093 Kettle has become an iconic piece, and today it still remains one of the best-selling items from the Italian brand. The playful kettle represented a meeting of great design and mass production methods, a combination that Michael Graves worked hard to achieve, applying his personal visual code which fused influences from Art Deco to Pop Art and even the language of cartoons.
Graves became paralyzed in 2003 after a spinal cord infection and spent his final years in a wheelchair. That did not stop him to continue his influential work, as he began to design hospitals, wheelchairs, and healthcare furniture. A great influential designer and architect that will be missed.
Official statement from Michael Graves Architecture and Design:
It is with deep sadness that Michael Graves Architecture & Design (MGA&D) announces the firm’s Founding Principal Michael Graves has passed away today, suddenly and peacefully, of natural causes. He was in his home in Princeton, New Jersey.
Since founding the firm in 1964, Michael transformed the role of architects and designers, and even the place of design in our everyday lives. 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 unique design voice.
Of all of his accomplishments, Michael often said that, like his own family, his proudest creation 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.