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HOME > Designer News > > Micheal Graves contemporary furniture and architecture is colorful and fun


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MichaelGraves
   
 
Michael Graves

Michael Graves's is one of the most prominent and prolific of American architects. One of the original members of the architectural movement called “The New York Five” he has not fallen into obscurity. Most of us look at some kind of object or building designed by Michael Graves for the mass market every day. This is because his contemporary designs are distributed through Target stores in the United States.

Graves is known for his warm retro colors and elemental, slightly rounded shapes that refer both the depression era and also classical and Italian influences. In the true spirit of post-modernist design which includes adjuncts, distortions and appropriations of familiar forms, Graves has designed artifacts, jewelry, dinnerware, household items and
contemporary furnishings for Alsip, Steuben, Black & Decker and Disney. In fact he is often referred to as one of the fathers of contemporary post-modernism for being one of the first to make the aesthetic shift from abstract modernism to post-modernism.
 
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and educated at the University of Cincinnati and at Harvard University his talent for drawing and creativity was recognized early. . After earning his master's degree in architecture at Harvard in 1959, he won a two-year fellowship at the American Academy in Rome where he was influenced by the classical architecture and painting.
   
Graves first started practicing alas a designer in Princeton, New Jersey in 1964. He also taught at that University for almost 40 years until an accident in 2003 left him paralyzed from the waist down.

In terms of furnishings he is well known for his post modern,
contemporary designs such as the trapezoid
   
shaped teapot and his exaggerated 1930s inspired club chair. Everything about a Michael Graves design is derivative of another period, usually the thirties or forties with the lines of the piece slightly exaggerated. He has designed everything from toilet brushes to outdoor contemporary furniture for the company Target that also makes him one of the most populist and affordable of all of the designers in the world.

His buildings are also very influential and have changed many urban landscapes all over the world. Graves uses columns, pediments, arches, and other historic details to create futuristic, yet contemporary buildings that have an odd bit of whimsy to them.

A good example of Grave’s aesthetic at its strongest and most fantastic is the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel in Florida. This hotel also has a twin called the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel and the two hotels are connected to each other via a sheltered walkway over a lagoon.

The Dolphin hotel is a turquoise and pink pyramid that is crowed by a sixty-three foot dolphin. Water cascades down the side of this hotel into the loon. The companion Swan hotel has a curved roofline that is topped with seven-foot swans.
Michael Graves newest project is the St. Coletta of Greater Washington. This building, which opened in 2006 is a nonsectarian, nonprofit school dedicated to serving individuals with mental
retardation and autism. This amazing building is like a series of pods that have shapes reminiscent of bread boxes and cookie jars from the 1930s. The building, which consists of stacked units is also painted in pastels reminiscent from that era including a barn board red and a story book blue bird blue.
 
Graves has always been a very prolific contemporary architect and his numerous projects include many great museums and libraries including the Denver Central Library in Colordo and the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta. These
buildings have vast galleries within which great old painting and ancient books are displayed.

Graves has also designed many famous homes including his own massive Italianate villa in Princeton. His international commissions include the De Resident which is the ministry of
 
 
   
Culture office building in the Hague, the Hotel New York at Euro D Euro Disneyland Park Paris; the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Fukuoka Japan. His buildings also pepper the landscapes in Germany, the Netherlands, Wales, China, and Israel.

Despite his disability, he still directs the firm Michael Graves & Associates, which has offices in Princeton and in New York City.
 
   
 


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