American architect Michael Graves died earlier this month, prompting a global retrospective on his life and works (I especially liked the Slate and New York Times articles). Though a prominent and respected architect, Graves became best known for his household design, partnering with brands like Dansk, Alessi, Steuben, Target, JC Penny, and Disney to create beautiful, functional, everyday designs.
Originally part of an Alessi design project called the "Coffee and Tea Piazza", for which several designers were asked to contribute, the now classic 9093 whistling bird kettle (colloquially known as the Graves kettle) outsold all the rest, and continues to be Alessi's number one kettle.
This kettle, launched in 1985, was the beginning of an extremely fruitful relationship with Italian brand Alessi, and resulted in a range of accessories and complementary pieces (as well as entirely new collections), including the sugar and creamer set, the French press, the salt castor and pepper mill, and the kitchen timer. The pepper mill was another bestseller, and all of these pieces later became available in alternate colors as well.