Designer and Architect Michael Graves to Speak at Wolfsonian

When a teapot is not just a teapot.

Even a design Neanderthal knows the name

Michael Graves

, thanks to the designer's

partnership with Target

. For more than ten years, he's made such mundane errands as buying tea kettles and dish scrubbers into guilty pleasures -- at least for shoppers with an eye for design. But Graves is actually more known for his success as an architect. When he started designing buildings in the late '60s and early '70s, he rescued blueprints from stark, mid-century minimalism and gave our skylines a more playful aesthetic.

Locally, he was the architect behind Orlando's Dolphin and Swan resorts and Miami's UM School of Business, 1500 Ocean Drive condo, and Shake-a-Leg Residences. His designs reach much farther, however, as he's built hotels and centers from Egypt to Japan. Tomorrow night, he'll be in town to discuss good design at our own museum of thinkism, the Wolfsonian.

Designer and Architect Michael Graves to Speak at Wolfsonian
Michael Graves-designed St. Coletta of Greater Washington.

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Now in his mid-70s, Graves continues to design and to receive top awards

from the American Institute of Architects. In 2003, a serious infection

confined him to a wheelchair. It did not, however, impede his design

career -- thanks to the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, who stopped the

paralysis from spreading to his hands so that he could still draw. 

Although his immobility has not slowed him down, it has given him pause.

Consider this excerpt from a 2004 Fast Company interview about his

disability:

"There should be no downtime," Graves said. "Sitting in front of the

tube isn't in the cards anymore. You've got to be doing something.

That's how I would plan my life if I got my legs back. I'd make use of

every f---ing minute." Then he rolled away.

Michael Graves will speak at the Wolfsonian (1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) this Friday at 7 p.m. The talk is only open to Wolfsonian Diplomat members (the $250 membership level), but the rest of us can watch the talk via live stream at http://webcast.fiu.edu. Call 305-535-2631 or visit wolfsonian.org.


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