Michael Graves is an important American Postmodern architect and designer. Born in Indianapolis in 1934, Michael Graves studied at the University of Cincinnati from 1954 to 1959 before attending the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. In 1960 Michael Graves was awarded a scholarship for two years of study at the American Academy in Rome. After his return to the United States, Michael Graves taught at Princeton University in New Jersey, where he became a professor of architecture in 1972. Michael Graves taught more than twenty-five years at Princeton but in 1964 he also opened an architecture practice in Princeton.
In 1969 Michael Graves was one of "The New York Five" to whom the Museum of Modern Art in New York devoted the exhibition of that title; the other four were the architects Peter Eisenman, Charles Gwathmey, John Hejduk, and Richard Meier. Not long after the exhibition, Michael Graves rejected modernism and started designing colorful buildings and interiors.
By the late 1970s, Michael Graves was also famous as a Postmodern furniture and product designer, which were also inspired by Art déco. Around 1980, Michael Graves designed several pieces of furniture and objects for Memphis.
The best known of Michael Graves's designs are the many he did for Alessi, including the iconic conical kettle with birds (1985). Michael Graves most important architecture projects include the Public Services Building in Portland, Oregon (1982), the library in San Juan Capistrano, California (1983), the Humana Corporation headquarters in Louisville (1982-86), the Dolphin Hotel in Disney World, Florida (1989), and the annex to the Whitney Museum of Art in New York (1989-90).