For over 50 years Downtown held the reputation for being dangerous, forbidden and void of interesting sites; not just for the locals but for the tourism industry as well. Those who dared venture were curious, rebellious or filled with a persistent love for the place. For Emmanuel Renoird and Nicolas Libert, the idea of the forbidden leading to the marvelous is recaptured above the foyer of their unique boutique/gallery experience, marked appropriately, “Please Do Not Enter.”
It’s been over two years since Emmanuel and Nicolas opened PLEASE DO NOT ENTER, the first year spent on an upper floor of the Historic PAC Mutual Building (by appointment only), the second inside a storefront just north of 6th and Olive.
Emmanuel, a interior designer by trade, and Nicolas, with a background in real estate, both from France, quickly established a reputation for satisfying the needs of the curious. Warding off none with their facetious warning, instead becoming hosts to a steady flow of clientele constantly amused with their rare designs, art works and private collections. Private collections they now make available to the public.
Please do not expect their space to be cluttered with designer labels or cliché objects of mass production. Please Do Not Enter doesn’t dwell on the trendy, instead they make the trends, sharing the works of the edgy and brilliantly-talented who need a platform, bringing artists from Europe and Asia, inviting only the work of the most desirable up and coming artisans who supply them with designs they love.
It’s almost as though the two, who have been collecting art and design for over 15 years, decided to pack the artists and designers they loved and collected and bring them in a suitcase to Downtown.
Explaining their motivations, “Lets bring what we like and see if people like it…and if we’re able to share it with more and more people…maybe these people will have the same experience as we had,” said Nicolas.
Yes, Emmanuel and Nicolas, Downtown thanks you for sharing, as the space is adorned with Downtown’s most interesting vendible’s, which double as conversational pieces. Part curator, part storyteller, Nicolas holds a conversation well, conveying with each piece its motivation as a testament to the artisan’s natural intelligence.
Being able to exhibit these wares and love for the city is what truly drives the two. Yet, on any given day the look of the space may change. Hosting gallery receptions with the focus on the artists or private parties one week, and the next, maybe the focus changes to fashion, accessories, novelty items or home décor.
Ultimately however it is up to the buyer to choose whether or not they have entered a design, fashion, boutique, or art gallery.
Please do not choose, as Please Do Not Enter seeks to be admired for its ability to morph itself into an unique experience with each visit. It’s obvious to the owners that having to choose may not only limit our expectations but that the buyers attentions come in as many different varieties as the products they offer. So much so, there are instances when some may completely concentrate on one aspect of the store, such as clothing while unconsciously passing by the other offerings, and vice versa.
Upon entering, one should allow a deep breath and the time it takes to fully absorb the store’s complete surroundings. Destiny, the store’s statuous mistress, and the store’s owners, Nicolas and Emmanuel, there to greet you, are all immaculate in their abilities to make visitors feel welcome.
Important to note, these fine fellows of Please Do Not Enter, not only fell in love with the potential of Downtown, they fell in love with it, the way it was, know its complete history and relish in its urban spirit. Although they are anxiously awaiting its inevitable transformation into an exonerated modern day urban metropolis, where people have access to an endless array of commerce, art and culture, they also understand and have a steady appreciation for the stories Los Angeles has to tell.
“Past is important, it’s part of your roots. Because of the history [Los Angeles}, this place is made even more amazing,” said Emmanuel.
Please Do Not Enter are monthly participants of the Downtown Art Walk, and community sponsors of the DTLA PROUD Fest. They enjoy the opportunities these cultural festivals bring, lending to a wider clientele, opening their doors not only because they love what they do but also because they want to share it and see how people react. It is with greater pleasure they will now host their own resident artist in what they call a dream project, which incorporates their love for art and the history of Los Angeles.
Please do not forget about the LA River. The filming industry has made the entire world familiar with the LA RIVER, and soon the future will bring mass changes to its landscaping as it is slated to be revamped.
Before the process begins, the artist Nicolas has chosen to host from Europe this fall will seek out unique locations and produce 100 replicas of the river’s textures, objects or resources and duplicate them in a display of usable objects that will allow all of us a piece of Los Angeles history. In reality, the LA River is one of the only rivers in the world people aren’t readily allowed to frequent. As forbidden as an ancient tomb, or temple, buyers will soon be able to raid the river and return with some of its most interested archeological memories recreated at PLEASE DO NOT ENTER.