Michael Graves’s Famous PoMo Kettle Turns 30—With A Dragon

The great humanist architect Michael Graves died this year, but before he passed away he revisited one of his most recognizable designs: the 9093 “whistling bird” kettle.

The polished stainless-steel kettle manufactured by Alessi hit store shelves in 1985 and bears the hallmarks of postmodern design: irreverence, nods to history, and forms rooted in geometry. The new version is virtually identical, save for the figure capping the spout and a couple new colors. In lieu of the original crimson bird, a metallic or jade-green dragon stands, which whistles when the water boils.

Here’s what Graves said about the refreshed design:

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 tea kettle, I imagined a new evolution in the history of our kettle. One where our little bird might transform into a superhero: a reptilian creature that is at once prehistoric, mythological, and futuristic.

Find the kettle on store shelves in late September for $200–$220 or order from