The last project Michael Graves completed for Alessi references one of his earliest creations for the company: The 9093 kettle, better known as the Bird Teakettle. To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the iconic piece, the late architect designed a new component for what’s being called the Tea Rex kettle.
In January 2015, Graves explained the development of this update.
“In bird years, thirty is equivalent to Methuselah’s life span!” Graves said, describing his new design for the Dragon Whistle. “So when Alberto Alessi asked me to design a new whistle to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of our teakettle, 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.”
“I chose the dragon imagery and its jade green color because of the rich cultural heritage found in Chinese folklore that uses the dragon to symbolize power and good luck,” Graves said. “Our dragon is friendly and he decidedly does not breathe fire, but perhaps lets off a little steam! He has a smile on his face, an easy-to-hear whistle, and a wing span that makes it easy to remove him from our teakettle when the water boils. We hope our dragon will proudly protect our kettle and your kitchen for years to come.”
Two versions of Tea Rex are offered: one with a jade green whistle and one—a limited edition of 9,999—with a brass, metallic-finish whistle.