Auctions in the Hamptons are as rare as this home, created as a live/work studio and residence by the late Japanese sculptor Setsuo Ito.
Built in 1993 and recently renovated, the 12,000-square-foot spread — topped by an open steel pyramid — sits on one of the highest elevations on the East End, a few miles north of Water Mill.
It’s heading to auction Jan. 24 to 30 with a reserve price of $2.95 million — far less than its last ask of $7.99 million.
The six-bedroom home sits on 9 acres, with room to build. It’s being sold at the auction with an additional 6 acres. The current owner also bought it at an auction, spent more than $1 million on renovations, purchased the adjacent lots — and is now selling them both at 984 and 984a Noyac Path, said Sotheby’s listing broker Angela Boyer-Stump.
A private 2-mile-long driveway through a white pine forest overlooking a 300-acre preserve leads to the house, which boasts an unusually shaped pool, a 32-foot-high pyramid and a deck.
The home has a foyer, a living room, a gallery, a dining atrium — plus a chef’s kitchen with white glass floors, custom cabinets and an open gas fireplace. There’s also a gym and a media room. In 1994, it’s also where the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. shot the music video for his hit single “Juicy.” But despite its hip-hop fame, it has spent recent years on and off the market without finding a buyer.
In 1994, in an interview with the New York Times, Ito said he once climbed a hilltop to watch a sunset and loved the spot so much — it was also perfect to watch the moonrise — that he bought 1.5 acres to build his dream home. That was back in 1984.
The artist named the house Camp Benno for his pet collie, who reportedly died two days before construction began. “We need a house for shelter and comfort,” he told the Times. “But I come to the Hamptons to enjoy the countryside. So I built a house that would push you back outside.”
It took 10 years to build the structure, as the Southampton planning board kept turning down his plans — so he spent the first few summers camping out on the hill. “The final design was a combination of aesthetic and political considerations,” he told the Times. “The pyramid, the pool and the master suite are all 40-by-40-foot perfect squares aligned along the north-south axis.”
As for the pyramid, he added: “Structurally, it is the strongest shape. That is why it belongs on top of the hill. But when you enclose a pyramid it is not interesting to me. It becomes cliché. So I left it open.”
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.