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For anyone keeping tabs, there’s now one more compelling reason to journey to downtown L.A.: /THE LAB/, a curated gift shop and exhibition space at the buzzing NoMad hotel.
The stark white showcase for artist-conceived curios is the work of French art collectors Emmanuel Renoird and Nicolas Libert, who opened the luxury men’s-focused boutique Please Do Not Enter several years ago downtown.
Renoird, previously an interior designer in France, designed the 800-square-foot shop within the former Bank of Italy building, with a museumlike layout, plenty of framed shelves and built-in jewelry boxes to showcase the unique items from mostly European and Asian designers and artists.
The array of goods varies from playful, like Tinder Nightmares, the Book ($14.95) to boundary-pushing, such as “Gaga,” a hat by Charlie Le Mindu using natural hair and mixed media, designed for the singer, and priced at $16,000.
There are also pieces of jewelry, such as a $455 sterling silver bracelet by Le Gramme Paris, and boutique fragrances, such as Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Oud ($300) eau de parfum, featuring the namesake ingredient from Laos, plus Moroccan cedar and Singaporean patchouli. The NoMad Cook Book ($100) gives guests the opportunity to try their hand at acclaimed recipes from the hotel’s chef, Daniel Humm, and his partner Will Guidera.
Exclusive handbags by interior designer François Joseph Graf are inspired by artists and architects — think Joan Miro, Fernand Leger and Eileen Gray. (A one-of-a-kind bag called “Le Tigre Qui Pleure” retails for $3,780.)
The same whimsical, contemporary aesthetic informs the shop’s art exhibitions, which are open to the public for free, changing over approximately every six weeks.
The first, titled “Short Memories,” highlighted a new hand-blown glass collection by Italy’s Fabrica (each piece in an edition of 30) and the Urchin lamps of Molo Studio. Then came “Noir,” a collection of hair sculptures by Charlie Le Mindu, and May 16 saw the opening of “Retour du Japon,” featuring a dozen Japanese designers using ancestral craftsmanship to express their contemporary aesthetic. Most of the pieces, which range from bamboo accessories and small furniture to glass jewelry and fine stationery, have never been exhibited in America.
A post shared by Please Do Not Enter DTLA (@pleasedonotenter) on
While the opportunity to bring intriguing art and design to a new audience was undoubtably appealing, Libert says that the NoMad itself is a game-changer, especially when it comes to bringing an international affluent crowd downtown. “The entertainment industry would not miss that. We’ve had significantly more celebrities coming in,” he says. “Downtown seems to finally get its long-awaited status as a true destination.”
649 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, nomadhotel.
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