madrid: platea restaurant opening

© platea

living the good life in around the mediterranean is a lot better than living the good life anywhere else on the planet, and the region's rich and diverse culinary traditions have a lot to do with it. one of the countries blessed with a plethora of heavenly flavours is spain, and it's in the heart of the capital madrid where a gourmet temple in the truest sense of the word has just opened its doors. called platea, the spectacular venue is a collab effort of marcos morán, paco roncero and pepe solla, three acclaimed spanish chefs with a solid international reputation. the expansive dining venue is situated in the former carlos III cinema and makes perfect use of the structure's original atrium space. as for platea's cool interior, renowned spanish designer lázaro rosa-violán was called in to provide his magic touch.

the building itself was erected during the late 1940s and early 1950s by architect luis gutiérrez soto, and the new interior design cleverly draws inspiration from that era. rosa-violán has created a setting which seamlessly combines perfect lighting, an overall buzzing atmosphere yet with separate gastronomic spaces. platea actually isn't just one restaurant, it's an adventurous collection of five spaces, featuring different cuisines. each space has been designed by rosa-violán with its own space of identity and vibe yet collectively they share a coherent global esthetic. using subtle colour palettes of rustic browns and greens, the incorporation of ceramics as a distinctive decorative element, and an abundance of details that create a welcoming space.

la batea, castizo and a mordisco are sections with a more informal look and approach to food, offering tasty tapas variations, whereas entrecortes and de cuchara are focused on traditional spanish dishes. adding up to platea's sublime offerings are beso de sal, a mexican restaurant by chef alex de la fuente, shikku by chef rafael sánchez and which features japanese cuisine, ranieri casalini's fortino with the best of italian recipes, and last but certainly not least, there's kinúa. supervised by chef kiko zeballos and its highly fashionable peruvian dishes. but that's not all. sweet tooths can indulge in a long list of specialties served by pastry chef alejandro montes at mamá framboise. needless to say that platea matches its rich food offerings with a compatible range of beverages.

while platea's beer of choice is estrella damm, its three bars serve a wide range of cocktails, selected wines and other drinks, including very spanish options such as cocktails in a jar, sangria, rebujito or water from valencia served in pints or half pints. complementing the gourmet experience are three indoor shops. cooking the kitchen company stocks the very best in kitchenware, gold gourmet is a sophisticated market where you can find delicious delicatessen, wines and a fine selection of fresh fruits, and there's a well-stocked gift shop called la shoperia de da2. and should you feel like splurging discreetly on food with your best pals or stage an exclusive gastro event, platea readily obliges with a private space. location: calle goya 5-7 [salamanca].

© platea

amsterdam: prada store opening

© prada

little over a decade ago amsterdam lacked the luxury monobrand stores present in most other european capitals. but with the opening of a prada store - one of numerous launches in the dutch capital in recent years - the city not only gains new retail momentum, but also further solidifies its position as one of europe's prominent shopping destinations. situated on p.c. hooftstraat, the city's luxury shopping strip, prada's new emporium occupies 550 sqm. [5,920 sq.ft.] spread over two floors of a traditional red brick building, featuring an interior designed by longtime collaborator, italian architect roberto baciocchi. the main entrance and a series of windows skillfully frame the building, flanked by black marble pillars that set the rhythm of the exterior façade. upon entering shoppers encounter an area brimming with leather goods and women’s accessories, showcased either in display niches on floating steel-framed crystal cases or nestled in black marble and mirror alcoves.

the adjoining glass room presents travel accessories. the ground floor features prada's signature black + white marble chequered floor and green fabric-clad walls. a separate section is dedicated to shoes, and here the setting is one of polished steel and crystal unit is inserted into an alcove cut into the wall draping. designer verner panton's clover leaf sofas provide ample seating while original table arrangements displaying footwear lend a sinuous note to the interiors. the second floor is home to prada's women's ready-to-wear collection. the interior here once again features green fabric-clad walls, paired with perspex display cases, transparent tables and green velvet sofas create an intimate, elegant feel. and only special shoppers can make use of the v.i.p. space on the same floor. location: p.c. hooftstraat 63hs [amsterdam zuid].

© prada