The Flavor and Ethics of Slow Time
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The Flavor and Ethics of Slow Time

Horto Restaurant

GLA - genius loci architettura

The Flavor and Ethics of Slow Time
By Editorial Staff -

Far from the frenzy of the Milan metropolis, time is not kept by the hands of a clock, but by nature. This slower pace creates the perfect place to discover the flavors of the local food and wine tradition, seasonal ingredients from a short supply chain, and the stories of the farmers, breeders and cheesemakers from the region. This is the “ethical time” of the Horto Restaurant of Via San Protaso. This restaurant, opened in the second half of 2022 at the top of the 18th-century palace called The Medelan, proposes a way of living and a philosophy that valorizes a synergy between cuisine, territory and hospitality starting from the architecture. 

Horto was founded by Osvaldo Bosetti and Diego Panizza and is directed by South Tyrolean chef Norbet Niederkofler, a pioneer in sustainability in the kitchen. The restaurant was designed by gla - genius loci architettura, which also oversaw the redevelopment of the entire complex once known as Palazzo Broggi. 

Horto Restaurant | Mattia Parodi (Direzione artistica: Motel 409), courtesy Horto Per accentuare il senso di continuità tra interno ed esterno le partizioni sono state smaterializzate nella quasi totalità dei casi. Lunghe vetrate lasciano intravedere lo skyline di Milano e la pianta completamente aperta ha portato alla creazione di piccole nicchie per incontri più riservati.

In this microcosm halfway between Palazzo Clerici and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, sustainable choices of cuisine, raw materials, furnishings, colors and light bring guests into an immersive experience and a slowing down of daily life. This vision and philosophy, realized in a zero-waste approach, have influenced the choices of suppliers for high-quality local products, the rediscovery of an authentic, local cuisine, and the origins of the fabrics, flooring and plaster used in the project. The contemporary style of the restaurant highlights natural and recycled materials. The hardwood flooring, which is laid in a non-traditional style, is made from the wood of old vinegar cellars. The residues from the processing of rice were incorporated into the plaster of the walls. 

As its name suggests, Horto is a fusion between the innovative present and revived past tradition. Luisa Collina, former president of the School of the Design at the Politecnico di Milano and coordinator of the project, states that it is “a dialogue between city and territory, and a search for balance between otium and negotium, between tradition and experimentation”. Constant contact with the blue sky, delicate colors inspired by nature and sinuous shapes create a dreamy, enchanting atmosphere. The continuity between the interior and exterior is accented by a sort of dematerialization of the partitions, and further enhanced by the glass windows and the luminous oculi. The open floor plan of the restaurant allows guests to view the stages of preparation of the cuisine, further reinforcing this sense of continuity and transparency. The merging of these spaces, however, has not prevented the creation of more intimate and private areas through alcoves, almost imperceptible curtains, and rounded corner niches with inviting couches. Horto offers a space for every occasion. 

Horto Restaurant | Mattia Parodi (Direzione artistica: Motel 409), courtesy Horto L’idea di trasparenza e di fluidità ha dato forma anche  alla cucina vera e propria, la quale è visibile con tutte le fasi di lavorazione grazie alla sua apertura verso la sala.

There is also an outdoor terrace overlooking the rooftops of Milan, connected to the rest of the restaurant through a large glass wall and designed to host events. Designed by architect and teacher Raffaella Colombo, the terrace is a landscape project, celebrating the medieval Italian garden and aiming to raise awareness of minuscule landscapes, biodiversity and environmental fragility. The delicacy of the environment allows guests to immerse themselves in the experience of culinary excellency in a more relaxed way. 

Location: Milan, Italy
Client: Horto
Completion: 2022
Gross Floor Area: 800 m2
Interior Design: gla - genius loci architettura
Main Contractor: Colombo Costruzioni 

Coordinator: Luisa Collina (Politecnico di Milano)
Lighting: Francesco Murano (Politecnico di Milano)
Landscape: Raffaella Colombo (Politecnico di Milano)

Photography: Mattia Parodi (Art Direction: Motel409), courtesy of Horto

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