Florentina — Beijing, China
Hidden within a discrete courtyard in Beijing’s sprawling Chaoyang district, Florentina’s modest exterior conceals a dramatic space inside, conceived by Singapore-based firm Emma Maxwell Design. Fashioned in the image of the restaurant’s namesake, the designer delved into the Renaissance city for inspiration. ‘The light continually shifting on marble surfaces, the cloudy skies and the resonance of the buildings in Florence hugely influenced me,’ she explains. The final result is both opulent and intimate, with Italian classicism fusing with striking contemporary elements; chevrons have been carved into a Carrara marble floor, while low ceilings have been embraced and wrapped in Fornasetti wallpaper depicting the rolling clouds of a Tuscan sky. Jade armchairs, gold-plated light fittings and delicate hand-blown glass chandeliers complete the ornate interior, and make it a fine place to sit and enjoy French chef Philippe Uzan’s repertoire of crowd-pleasing Italian dishes, such as luxurious lobster risotto and a knockout New Zealand veal osso bucco.