The Container Store: Ilan Dei Turns Shipping Containers Into A Shop
Arguably the coolest street in Los Angeles, Abbot Kinney Boulevard just upped its chill quotient. Thank Ilan Dei Venice, a retail-gallery concept that’s popped up temporarily inside four repurposed shipping containers, the brain child of interior and furniture designer Ilan Dei.
Naturally, he’s selling pieces designed and manufactured by Ilan Dei Studio, mostly brightly colored seating from his Cord collection. There are also accessories by local craftspeople, such as Scott Slagerman handblown vases and Brad Miller ceramic bowls. Rounding out the offerings is a rotating selection of artworks, displayed in their own “project lab” container, ranging from paintings supplied by area galleries to what Dei calls “a show of human-powered vehicles,” meaning surfboards, skateboards, and bikes, all made in L.A. (The fourth container is for storage.)
As for the containers themselves, totaling 640 square feet, Dei positioned the two selling product to face each other. He removed both sidewalls on one, inserting glass panels on the elevation fronting Abbot Kinney and leaving the other totally open. Here tained a side wall in the second container, out fitting it with plywood built-ins, and removed the other entirely. (Awnings will go up over both open elevations come rainy season.) Then, promoting what he dubs“WestCoast living,” Dei inserted a wooden deck between the two, positioned the gallery and storage containers behind them, and covered the remainder of 1,200-squarefoot lot in white gravel.
Although the interior and exterior palette for the product containers is largely white and pale gray, that’s not so with the project lab. “It pops,” Dei explains of the brilliant fuchsia paint covering one wall. Since art works typically need ventilation, he replaced the back wall with a plywood panel that has CNC-milled perforations in a vaguely Moorish pattern. The aluminum double entry gates have been similarly perforated as has the tangerine-orange acrylic signage.
What’s this all for? Dei sees it as a new paradigm for retail and a testing ground for the shipping containers. “I’m planning an off-the grid inn on my 10-acre property in the High Sierra,” he says. “These four, plus additional containers, will be the ‘cabins.’” Come next fall, he’ll be taking reservations.