Tea Rex, Alessi
Michael Graves

4 November 2015

Who is not familiar with the 9093 kettle, designed by Michael Graves (1934-2015) for Alessi, with its famous whistle in the shape of a bird that sings when the water comes to a boil? Today, after selling a million and a half pieces all over the world, the 9093 is celebrating 30 years of production. To mark the occasion, and at the invitation of Alberto Alessi, Graves decided to turn the now iconic bird into a dragon: “I imagined a new evolution in the history of our kettle. One where our little bird might transform into a super-hero: a reptilian creature that is at once prehistoric, mythological and futuristic.” These are the words of the architect of the Portland Public Service Building, a building emblematic of the postmodern style whose possible renovation has recently been announced. The celebratory kettle is called Tea Rex, still has the distinctive form of the original and has also been produced in 18/10 stainless steel at the historic plant in Crusinallo (Verbano). It is available in two versions: with a jade green whistle and blue handle or a whistle with a copper metallic finish and black handle. The dragon’s appearance has been stripped of any negative connotation: instead of flames it may emit just small puffs of steam and its removal, far from being an effort, is facilitated by the ease with which the generous wingspan can be gripped. It is to this fascinating creature, inspired by Chinese tradition and found in many other cultures, that Graves has entrusted the task of safeguarding his kettle for the years to come. Just as dragons are wont to do with the most precious of treasures.

Tea Rex, design di Michael Graves per Alessi.

Tea Rex, design di Michael Graves per Alessi.

Tea Rex, design di Michael Graves per Alessi.

Tea Rex, design di Michael Graves per Alessi.

Tea Rex, design di Michael Graves per Alessi.

Tea Rex, design di Michael Graves per Alessi.

Tea Rex, Alessi - Michael Graves

Tea Rex, Alessi - Michael Graves

9093, design di/by Michael Graves per /for Alessi. Schizzo / Sketch.

9093, design by Michael Graves for Alessi. Sketch.

Tea Rex, design di/by Michael Graves per /for Alessi. Schizzo / Sketch.

Tea Rex, design by Michael Graves for Alessi. Sketch.


Valentina Silvestrini

She has a naturally curly head of hair and in third grade founded a monthly magazine called Magiche Amiche (“Magic Friends”), brought out in ten handwritten copies sewn together with a needle and thread by her mother. Out of a love of exhibitions, museums and other forms of display, she left her native Umbria to take a degree in architecture in Rome. When not in Florence, the city where she has chosen to live, she’s likely to be wandering around Asia with a backpack. She dreams of cities with no cars and has a weakness for modern collectibles. Editor-in-chief for design and architecture at Cosebelle, she also writes for Artribune.


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