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Murray Moss is an American design entrepreneur and founder of the design art company Moss, and the design consultancy Moss Bureau. He has been called "America's most closely watched purveyor of industrial design" (Washington Post), while his store has been called "the best design store in the world."(International Herald Tribune, July 2007)
Moss began his career as a professional actor in the United States and Great Britain after his studies at Columbia University and at New York University, School of Arts. In 1978, in collaboration with Dutch designer Ronaldus Shamask, Moss launched the fashion label Shamask, which became known for its architectural, structural designs long before such thinking in clothing came into vogue. The company rapidly expanded to include broad manufacturing of women’s and men’s fashions, international distribution and licensing. In 1990, the company’s trademarks and trade names were sold.
With the opening of the Moss shop in 1994, in SoHo, New York City, Moss was able to infuse basic principles of his previous careers into all aspects of the store—to dramatic effect. Both a sense of theatre and a sensibility reminiscent of experimental fashion characterize the shop, which presents a highly edited selection of both current as well as historical products culled from designers and manufacturers around the world. Like an editor or a curator, Moss changes the presentation of products almost daily, keeping the store fresh and current with new ideas.
In 2000, Moss and business/life partner Franklin Edward Getchell expanded the store considerably by annexing two floors of the adjacent gallery, formerly Metro Pictures. In January, 2005, the store expanded yet again into a new corner building next to the existing two Moss shops, opening Moss Gallery, a “theatre-like” space in which regularly scheduled special exhibitions are presented. In May 2006, with partner restaurateur Nicola Marzovilla, the business expanded again, by opening an Italian restaurant and wine shop. Also in 2006, the company opened on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, and in 2008, opened a Moss shop in the Philippe Starck designed SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills.
The company was a victim of the recession, however, and all shops and galleries closed by early 2012, which is when Moss Bureau was founded. The consultancy works to "intervene" in museum retail operations, and offers curatorial and other advisory services.
Moss is the recipient of the 2002 Chrysler Design Award and Russel Wright Award. In 2000 he was awarded House Beautiful’s Giants of Design Award and in 2004 he received the Metropolitan Home Modernism Award. In 2007, he received the Travel & Leisure award for Best New Restaurant Design for Centovini. In 2007, he was elected to Interior Design magazine's Hall of Fame. He is a frequent guest lecturer at design venues and universities, such as the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Yale School of Architecture, Hammer Museum, Aspen Institute, Cooper Hewitt Museum, and the TED conference (2002). He is on the graduate faculty of the School of Visual Arts, and he is the author of three books; two for Rizzoli, Georg Jensen Reflections and Baccarat: 250 Years, and Tertium Quid for August Editions.