Michael Graves: Design for Life
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press 2017 Author: Ian Volner ISBN: 9781616895631 Format: Hardback, 272pp, 178x229mm
One of the most prominent and prolific designers and architects of the late twentieth-century, Michael Graves is widely known for his popular product designs, including the world famous Alessi whistling-bird teakettle, and controversial buildings, such as the Portland Public Service Building in Portland, Oregon; Humana Building in Louisville, Kentucky; and Dolphin and Swan Hotels at Walt Disney World, Florida.
Graves was widely known as the leading voice of Postmodernist architecture, which reintroduced human scale, colour, and often playful forms into the stark vocabulary of Modernism. In Michael Graves: Design for Life, journalist Ian Volner explores not only the full impact of this remarkable architect's work, but the story of his life and influences.
This illuminating biography is based on a series of extensive interviews with Graves conducted before his sudden death in 2015, as well as numerous conversations with his family, patrons, and colleagues. Volner offers insight into Grave's personal life as it paralleled his brilliant design achievements: his often difficult midwestern upbringing; his early education and preparation, including a formative fellowship at the American Academy in Rome; his longtime academic position at Princeton University; his relationships with family and peers; his ultimate professional triumphs; and, following a devastating illness that paralysed him from the chest down, his late work as a tireless designer and advocate of improved health-care products and facilities.
What emerges is a meticulously researched, anecdote-rich human story, as well as a primer on the American architecture scene of the past sixty years, and a portrait of a man whose deep passion for his art brought joy to millions.