Michael Graves' kettle for Alessi
was "a best-seller for 15 years"

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Movie: Alberto Alessi discusses the popularity of Michael Graves' kettle with a bird-shaped whistle in the penultimate movie from our series of exclusive video interviews with the president of the Italian design brand. 

9093 kettle by Michael Graves for Alessi
9093 kettle by Michael Graves for Alessi

The American architect's 9093 kettle for Alessi, which was first produced in 1985, features a conical stainless-steel body with a plastic bird-shaped whistle at the end of the spout.

9093 kettle by Michael Graves for Alessi
9093 kettle by Michael Graves for Alessi

"This product was, for something like 15 years, a number-one seller," says Alessi. "It still is one of the top ten."

Limited edition silver tea and coffee set by Michael Graves for Alessi
Limited edition silver tea and coffee set by Michael Graves for Alessi

The product came out of an earlier collaboration with Graves, who was invited, along with ten other architects, to design a limited-edition silver tea and coffee set for Alessi.



Graves was then selected, together with Italian architect Aldo Rossi, to design mass-produced products for the company.

Limited edition silver tea and coffee set by Aldo Rossi for Alessi
Limited edition silver tea and coffee set by Aldo Rossi for Alessi

"In Italian tradition, design is a son of architecture," Alessi says. "All good designers, almost without exception, are first architects in Italy. We invited these 11 architects, then selected Aldo Rossi and Michael Graves, understanding that they were extremely interested in trying real industrial design, meaning products made for the masses."

Michael Graves portrait
Michael Graves

Alessi claims that, following the success of his kettle design, Graves intended to devote much more of his time towards industrial design, although his career did not ultimately pan out that way.

9093 kettle by Michael Graves for Alessi
Sketch by Michael Graves

"His wish was to devote half of his career to do industrial design," he says. "In the end it proved not to be right, he continued to be mostly an architect."

Alberto Alessi portrait
Alberto Alessi. Copyright: Dezeen

This is one of a series of five movies with Alberto Alessi, in which he discusses some of the Italian brand's most iconic products. Look out for our movie about Philippe Starck's infamous Juicy Salif lemon squeezer tomorrow.

Watch all the movies in the series »

  • bartimaeus

    But it’s the worst kettle in history! It burns your hand when there’s boiling water in it and you touch the handle!