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