USTA And Michael Graves Architecture & Design Unveil New Court Furniture For US Open Tennis Championships

QUEENS, N.Y., AND PRINCETON, N.J., Aug. 20, 2018 — Today, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and renowned design firm Michael Graves Architecture & Design (MGA&D) unveiled a new collection of courtscape furniture for the US Open Tennis Championship, scheduled this year from Aug. 27 through Sept. 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, Queens.

The USTA selected Michael Graves Architecture & Design in December 2017 to re-imagine the courtside furniture for this year’s celebration of the US Open’s 50th anniversary and to help launch America’s Grand Slam toward the next 50 years. The new furniture, which features a cleaner, more contemporary look, along with improved functionality and ease-of-use, is designed to enhance the US Open experience for players, officials and fans alike. It was manufactured by Landscape Forms, the industry leader in beautifully designed furniture for outdoor spaces.

The new furniture is part of the US Open’s rebranding effort. The goal was to create a modern, well-organized courtscape that would be iconic to the US Open and its New York location, while keeping the main focus on the action on the court, the true star of the tournament. The collection includes new seating for the players, umpires and line judges, a “cooler corral” for the players, plus other accessories.

MGA&D specializes in humanistic design that is not only beautiful, but serves its purpose in an artful way. To help inform the ultimate design of the furniture, MGA&D’s design team met with various US Open stakeholders, including players, officials, fans, sponsors and broadcast partners, as well as the USTA’s facilities and maintenance, sponsorship and marketing, broadcast and technology crews. MGA&D then distilled the research into a design brief to create the furniture based on three guiding principles: visibility, utility, and user experience.

The furniture evokes elements of the New York City landscape. For example, the new players’ seating was inspired by the city’s park benches and serves as a metaphor for a body at rest, which is what research showed is important for the players. The player seating is sponsored by Ralph Lauren Polo.

The umpire stand features a cantilevered design, reminiscent of cantilevered details on buildings in the city, while providing open site lines for fans to see the court. It also utilizes the idea of forced perspective to further reference the soaring skyscrapers of New York City. The stand is designed to be comfortable, incorporate the latest technology and provide sufficient support for the umpire to quickly ascend or descend. In addition, all pieces in the collection are easy to clean, and allow for quick-and-easy installation and removal by facilities crews.

To deliver the new furniture for this year’s 50th anniversary tournament, the project schedule was aggressive. MGA&D utilized virtual reality to enable the USTA to envision each design concept. The technology allowed the wide team of stakeholders to make well-informed decisions from each of their perspectives.

“The new furniture is beautiful and truly captures the high performance of the US Open,” said Stacey Allaster, USTA chief executive, professional tennis. “The tournament is of New York, and the new courtscape is a perfect expression of the Grandest Slam.”

“I am passionate about furniture design, and this has been one of the most satisfying projects I’ve worked on during my 35-year product design career,” said Donald Strum, MGA&D’s principal, product design. “Seating should express utility, be comfortable and carry a beautiful personality as well. The various performance requirements of this collection made the project endlessly fascinating.”

“Working with the expert team from Michael Graves Architecture & Design on this complex and fast-track project was critical,” says Landscape Forms Executive Vice President of Development Robb Smalldon. “They know product design inside and out, and we know engineering and manufacturing. Our teams coordinated well and developed a fluid back-and-forth that culminated in a beautiful, functional product for a high-visibility venue. We are honored to work with leading design thinkers like Michael Graves Architecture & Design and a great end-client like the USTA.”

About the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA)

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 655,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, one of the highest-attended annual sporting events in the world, and launched the US Open Series, linking seven summer WTA and ATP World Tour tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA’s philanthropic entity, the USTA Foundation, provides grants and scholarships in addition to supporting tennis and education programs nationwide to benefit under-resourced youth through the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network. For more information about the USTA, go to or follow the official accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

About Michael Graves Architecture & Design (MGA&D)

Founded in 1964 by legendary designer Michael Graves, MGA&D is a leading multidisciplinary design practice rooted in the values of humanism. Over the past 50-plus years, MGA&D has created iconic works of design and architecture, including the Alessi teakettle, the Michael Graves Design housewares collection for Target, and the Disney Swan and Dolphin hotels. Today, the MGA&D team has expanded its creative influence to include helping companies develop strategies for entering new markets, utilizing design to transform workplace culture, designing the largest statue in the world and even working to change the conversation on aging. MGA&D services include design research and strategy consulting, product design, branding and graphic design, as well as architecture, master planning, feasibility studies and interior design. This breadth of expertise enables a holistic, collaborative approach that leads to transformative results for clients and consumers. MGA&D is a widely recognized design leader including being listed by Fast Company as one of “The world’s top 10 most innovative companies in design.” For more information, visit

About Landscape Forms

Landscape Forms is the industry leader in integrated collections of high-design site furniture and advanced LED lighting. Since its founding in 1969, Landscape Forms has earned a reputation for excellent design, high-quality products and exceptional service. The Landscape Forms U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility is located in Kalamazoo, Mich., with sales representatives throughout North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Asia.

Landscape Forms collaborates with renowned industrial designers and consultancies, landscape architects, and architects to design and develop integrated collections of products that address emerging needs and help create a sense of place. Additionally, the company has formed global marketing partnerships with select companies that share its commitment to design. Landscape Forms has an installed base of products around the world. Clients include municipalities, transit centers, corporate, college and health care campuses, sites such as Orange County Great Park; and familiar brand leaders such as Boeing, Cisco Systems, Disney, Sprint, American Airlines, Herman Miller and Nike.

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Media contacts:

Katie Ruesgen or Meredith Kish

Carmichael Lynch Relate for MGA&D
212.494.8607 or 212.494.8687

Chris Widmaier

USTA Communications

Michelle Oswald

Landscape Forms

Karen Brooking


The Warehouse, Michael Graves’s Home, Purchased by Kean University

The home and studio of Michael Graves, “The Warehouse,” and two additional properties in Princeton, New Jersey, have been donated by Kean University to be used by the Michael Graves College for architecture and design.

Under Kean’s ownership, little is expected to change about the Warehouse. Graves used the space as a residence and art studio, but he also treated the house as a museum and gathering place for seminars and salons. “We would use the house the way Michael did,” David Mohney, dean of the Michael Graves College, said, “and the scale of use would be consistent.”

Graves was a Professor at Princeton’s School of Architecture for 39 years. The Warehouse is adjacent to Princeton’s campus, and about a half-mile from its School of Architecture.

The Warehouse is a microcosm of Graves’s design ethos: a postmodern (with a nod toward classicism), holistic treatment of interior and exterior spaces.

MGA&D is excited that Kean University will be opening the doors to Michael’s home, as it will function as a resource center for learning and the education of architects and designers for years to come. To read the full article please click here.

It is a perfect expression of Michael’s humanistic design philosophy, with its thoughtful integration of architecture, interiors, furniture, artifacts, artwork and landscape. – Linda Kinsey, MGA&D Principal

Michael Graves Architecture & Design Promotes Three to Associate Principal


Michael Graves Architecture & Design (MGA&D), one of the leading design firms in the world, today announced the promotion of three seasoned architects to Associate Principal. Robert Blaser, Matthew Ligas and James Wisniewski bring extensive international design experience to their new roles.

“Robert, Matt and James are talented and valued members of our team with proven experience across a broad range of projects that have earned accolades in the U.S. and around the world,” said Patrick Burke, AIA, Principal, Michael Graves Architecture & Design. “Each of them embodies the values, culture and philosophy on which the firm was founded. These promotions are well-earned recognition of their contributions to the growth and success of the firm.”

Robert Blaser, AIA

Since joining the firm in 1998, Blaser has been involved with the design of projects encompassing a variety of building types. He has considerable experience in hospitality projects, serving as project architect for Resorts World Sentosa, an integrated resort consisting of six hotels, a Universal Studios theme park and maritime museum off the coast of Singapore. He has also worked on several resort hotels in Egypt, among many other projects. Blaser is currently a project architect for corporate offices for a Financial Services Company in Atlanta and Dallas.

Among his awards are the International Property Award, Asia Pacific Leisure Architecture 2011 – Resorts World Sentosa; Gold Plus Award, Singapore Building Authority Green Mark program – Resorts World Sentosa; Harpers BAZAAR Spa Awards 2016 ESPA Spa – Citation; World Traveler Awards 2015 – Resorts World Sentosa; Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards Regional 2011-2013 Series – Resorts World Sentosa; and Healthcare Design Magazine Interior Design Showcase 2015 – Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital.

Blaser holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Bucknell University.

Matthew Ligas, AIA, LEED AP

A member of the firm since 2001, Ligas has played an integral role on the architectural and design teams for numerous signature projects.  He also was Design Phase Project Architect for the Nile Corniche (St. Regis Hotel Cairo), a 1.9 million square foot mixed-use development in Cairo, Egypt. Other representative projects include the Louwman National Automobile Museum, The Hague, Netherlands; the Design Institute, Nishinippon University, Kitakyushu, Japan; and the U.S. Embassy Compound chancery office building and housing in Seoul, Korea.

Ligas is currently the architect leading a Financial Services Company’s nationwide workplace transformation projects and headquarters in Washington, D.C. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Miami.

James Wisniewski, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Wisniewski joined the firm in 2001 and offers experience designing for public, private and not-for-profit sector clients. As project manager for many of the firm’s healthcare, education and hospitality projects, he focuses on the pragmatic details, as well as the intangible elements of design and space that yield human-centered solutions. Most recently, he was lead designer and project manager for the renovation of the Center for Restorative Care and Emergency Department design concepts at Yale New Haven Hospital. Currently, he is overseeing construction management for the Statue of Unity in Gujarat, India.

Wisniewski has received numerous awards for his work including the Healthcare Design Magazine Interior Design Showcase 2015 – Yale New Haven Hospital and the Pro Spotlight Award, Alter Hall, Fox School of Business at Temple University. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Syracuse University.

About Michael Graves Architecture & Design 

Founded more than 50 years ago by AIA Gold Medalist Michael Graves, Michael Graves Architecture & Design (MGA&D) is one of the leading design firms in the world. Its clients include Fortune 100 firms, international developers, educational institutions, governmental agencies and non-profit organizations. In addition, the firm has brought more than 2,500 products to market for clients such as Target Stores, Alessi, Stryker, Kimberly-Clark and The Walt Disney Company. With more than 300 awards for design excellence, MGA&D’s multidisciplinary practice offers strategic advantages to clients worldwide.