Dezeen Magazine

Design purveyor Murray Moss auctions off items from private collection

The owner of the former Moss gallery in New York is selling 60 pieces – from lighting fixtures to homeware – by leading designers including the Campana Brothers, Marcel Wanders, Philippe Starck and Studio Job (+ slideshow).

Murray Moss private auction
Studio Job, Biscuit Tiered Cake Candleholder, Biscuit porcelain, 2006

The objects come from Murray Moss' personal collection, along with the archive of his eponymous Soho gallery, which opened in 1994 and closed in 2012. The store was shut due to "a perfect storm of high overhead and lagging sales," according to reports.

Murray Moss private auction
Jiri Pelcl, Cactus Vase, Borosilicate glass, 2007

The pieces are being sold through an online auction that ends 9 September 2015. It provides a rare opportunity to explore the gallery's archives and get a sense of Moss's "extraordinary eye".

Murray Moss private auction
Tord Boontje, Small Come Rain Come Shine Chandelier, Metal, cotton, organza, and silk, 2004

"The auction is a window into the incredible talent that Moss cultivated during its 18 years as a Soho design mecca, championing talents from the Campana Brothers and Ted Muehling to Maarten Baas and Philippe Starck, and establishing an aesthetic that was emulated worldwide," said Paddle8, an online auction house that specialises in design, fine art and jewellery.

Murray Moss private auction
Fernando and Humberto Campana, Favela Tree, Wood, 2004

One of the items up for sale is the Monumental Favela Tree by Brazil's Campana Brothers. Released in 2004, the home accessory is made of pine, steel and metal screws, and is valued at up to $15,000 (£9,800).

The Zeppelin S1 Suspension Lamp, by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, was unveiled in 2005. Constructed of steel, resin and crystal, the lighting fixture is valued at $2,000 to $3,000 (£1,300 to £1,960).

Philippe Starck, Monumental Superarchimoon Floor Lamp, 1999
Philippe Starck, Monumental Superarchimoon Floor Lamp, 1999

The Monumental Superarchimoon Floor Lamp, released in 1999, is by the French designer Philippe Starck. The piece – made of aluminium and fabric – is valued at up to $18,000 (£11,760).

Murray Moss private auction
Studio Job, Golden Still-Life Pitcher, Earthenware with 24k gold, 2004

The Golden Still-Life Pitcher by Belgium-based Studio Job is listed at $3,000 to $4,000 (£1,960 to £2,610). The sculptural piece is made of hand-painted ceramic with 24 carat gold.

 Red Wine Tumblers by Adolf Loos
Adolf Loos, Red Wine Tumblers, 1931

The auction also includes a set of four lead-free crystal tumblers by Adolf Loos, the Austrian architect who rejected ornamentation in design. Dating to 1931, the Red Wine Tumblers are valued at $400 to $600 (£260 to £390).

Murray Moss private auction
Josef Hoffmann, Series B Champagne Cups (Set of Six), Enamelled crystal, 1912

Today, Moss – who was born in Chicago – lives in Midtown Manhattan with his life and business partner, Franklin Getchell. Both are former actors. When they opened the Moss gallery in the 1990s, they set out to create a "design theatre" rather than an exhibition space.

Murray Moss private auction
Angelo Mangiarotti, First Glass Tumblers (Set of Eight) Crystal, 1988

"I first regarded our visitors, who were of course there as potential customers, as an 'audience,' and I instinctively followed that paradigm," Moss recalled in a recent interview.

Zeppelin S1 Suspension Lamp by Marcel Wanders
Marcel Wanders, Zeppelin S1 Suspension Lamp, 2005

"We didn't concentrate directly on selling you something; we concentrated on showing you something which we felt was of great interest," he said.

Murray Moss private auction
Piero and Barnaba Fornasetti, Soli e Lune Screen, Silkscreen on wood, 2000

Getchell told Dezeen they are selling the items due to life changes. "We're leaving the city and we want to divest," he said. "We love these things, but it's time to let go of some of them."

Moss and Getchell now run a design consulting service called Moss Bureau, which provides curatorial assistance for residential and commercial projects, and assists museums in revamping their retail efforts. Moss recently published two books for Rizzoli and is currently working on a third.

Murray Moss private auction
Konstantin Grcic, Haute Couture Tea Service, Porcelain, 2001

Other recent auctions from Paddle8 include one in which experiences with starchitects – such as a ride in Norman Foster's helicopter – were sold to raise money for the Van Alen Institute, a New York-based think tank.