Alessi is soon to release a new version of the 9093 kettle whistle to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Designed initially in 1985 by renowned Michael Graves, the stainless steel kettle with red bird-shaped whistle has become an icon of the 20th century. After 30 years, Graves transformed the recognizable whistle into a special dragon and new colourful, metallic versions of the bird. Sadly this marks the end of a legendary collaboration between Alessi and Michael Graves, as Graves passed away this year. The dragon seems to come as a fitting symbol to remember a great influential designer.
Titled “Tea Rex”, the new whistle is made out of 18/10 stainless steel and produced, like the original, at the company’s Crusinallo site. The kettle comes with a jade whistle combined with a blue handle, and with a metallic coloured whistle with copper paired with a black handle. The jade dragon was particularly chosen for its symbolism in Chinese culture as strength and fortune.
In bird years, thirty is equivalent to Methuselah’s life span! So When Alberto Alessi asked me to design a new whistle to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of our teakettle, I imagined a new evolution in the history of our kettle. One where our little bird might transform into a super-hero: a reptilian creature that is at once prehistoric, mythological, and futuristic. I chose the dragon imagery and its jade green colour because of the rich cultural heritage found in Chinese folklore that uses the dragon to symbolize power and good luck. Our Dragon is friendly and he decidedly does not breathe fire, but perhaps lets off a little steam! He has a smile on his face, an easy-to-hear whistle and a wing span that makes it easy to remove him from our teakettle when the water boils. We hope our dragon will proudly protect our kettle and your kitchen for years to come.
– Michael Graves
Both versions of the kettle come with the original black ball-grip for the lid, with the words “Tea Rex 9093 30th anniversary” engraved around it.
The graphics of the 30th anniversary packaging are also special with the icon of the new whistle set in contrast to that of the original project.
The 2015 collection also includes a second design by Graves that pays homage to the 9093 Kettle. The MG35 tea infuser, incorporates the design of the bird-shaped whistle, an adorable addition to any tea lovers. The bird and the closure for the infuser are made from silicone, and are easily removable from the stainless steel cone for easy cleaning.
It’s the last project by one of our design heroes. His contribution to Alessi’s history, and design’s, will never be forgotten.
– Alberto Alessi
The 9093 Kettle and its iconic bird has shown us how good design can pass the test of the time. Both the original bird whistle and the new Tea Rex will also be sold separate as a set. If you already own a 9093 Kettle you will be able to purchase just the whistles to add to your collection.
Availability: end of September / beginning of October 2015
Tea Rex with light blue handle and green dragon: CAN $220
Tea Rex with black handle and dragon in copper finish: CAN $242
Set of two whistles in brass metallic finish (limited edition of 9,999): CAN $88
Set of two whistles in light green and red: CAN $27
*All images and information courtesy of Alessi.