WORDS
REPORTING
TAG
BROWSING
SHARE
Facebook
WhatsApp
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Email
Twitter

E.c.ho, Milan. A recycled vision in the era of slow tourism

The ‘Ecological Contemporary Hotel‘ in Milan. In conversation with Marco Pratolongo, General Manager and Andrea Auletta, architect of E.c.ho.

E.c.ho in Milan – A green space in the center of the city

A stone’s throw away from the bustling Central Station, in Via Andrea Doria, E.c.ho Milan stands as a case study of sustainable architecture in the heart of Milan. Envisioned by architect Andrea Auletta, E.c.ho is, in fact, the first ecological property of the Starhotels group. The name stands for ‘Ecological Contemporary Hotel’. Thought for a low-carbon stay, it opened as a response to the needs of the eco-conscious clientele in the era of slow tourism. E.c.ho’s launch took place in 2011 when sustainability was not a mere trend.

Hotel Splendido, the group’s existing property, was reimagined with an environment-friendly vision as E.c.ho. «Splendido shut in 2010 and then, after a year-long renovation works, E.c.ho was born. The aim was to give birth to a recycled vision focused on energy-efficient technology and sustainable materials», says Marco Pratolongo, the General Manager. The hotel bagged the European Hotel Design Award for Sustainable Design in 2012. It also received the Green Globe Certification. A structured assessment of the sustainability performance of travel and tourism businesses and their suppliers. «We achieved a compliance score of ninety-five percent helping us to obtain the Green Globe Gold status in 2019».

E.c.ho Milan is spread across three-thousand-and-five hundred square feet space, accessible from an entrance on the corner from Viale Andrea Doria. Natural light illuminates the lobby, owing to the glass walls opening into the garden. In front of it, overlooking the garden, is a small fenced Renaissance chapel, consisting of an aedicula and some bays of the adjoining portico. These are the remains of Cascina Pozzobonelli, built in 1492 by Donato Bramante.

Rooms at E.c.ho

Further, its one-hundred-and-forty-three rooms are dispersed across seven floors. Divided into categories such as superior, deluxe, junior suite and suite. Painted in tones of beige and cream, they are adorned with floral motif art on the walls. The suites, equipped with balconies, offer views of the Milanese skyscrapers. «From the Pirellone to the UniCredit spiral, the Diamond Tower to the Bosco Verticale, the silhouettes of the Duomo, and Torre Velasca», adds Pratolongo. Connecting rooms are also available, with family welcome kits, and child-friendly amenities.

Curated keeping in mind the group’s corporate clientele, E.c.ho Milan offers a conference center with five meetings room. They all come equipped with energy-saving and other state-of-the-art technology. The meeting rooms can accommodate up to two-hundred-and-forty people. The ‘elements’ room can also become a private banquet room. The other four rooms – Water, Fire, Air, Earth – are located on the lower floor and connect to the outdoor area through a marble staircase. «Our clientele is mainly business, but thanks to the strategic location, it is also a great starting point to discover the city of Milan. Our business clients mix is eighty percent transient, twenty percent groups. Foreign clientele – from United States, China, UK as well as France – generates seventy percent of our business», says Pratolongo. 

A panoramic fitness room is located on the top floor of the hotel. It presents itself as a ‘greenhouse’, keeping in tandem with the eco-deigns while facilitating the views over Milan’s skyline. The hotel also offers pedal-assisted bikes for guests for a low-carbon footprint travel across the city. Charging stations for electric vehicles are also available. 

Environmental commitment with Andrea Auletta

Auletta and the Starhotels group have nurtured a camaraderie for almost two decades. «My association with the Starhotels group began in 1995, first as support to the internal technical office, and then as an interior designer and art director of the group until 2018. I am now in charge of developing, restyling and renovating hotel projects for the group», says Auletta. 

E.c.ho is the first ecological hotel Auletta planned and executed. Every detail at the property has been woven keeping in mind the ethos of ecological design. «The research phase was crucial to get an in-depth understanding of what encompasses sustainability. We took a four-fold approach. Reducing energy consumption (since hotels are alive three-hundred-and-sixty-five days a year twenty-four hours a day), choice of materials (recycled and recyclable), maintenance (waste management), and the reduction of room cleaning times», adds Auletta.

When choosing materials and elements for the interiors, ecological certifications were key drivers. «The room and corridors flooring features ‘Live Green’ certified porcelain stoneware. The corridors and common areas come draped in ‘Eco Solution Q’ certified carpets. For the upholstery, we used ‘Greenguard’ and ‘E.U. Ecolabel’ certified fabrics, while the wallpaper in the rooms is ‘Nordic Ecolabel’ certified. Finally, the spring mattresses feature recycled secondary material». 

The efficient use of energy resources at E.c.ho

The efficient use of energy resources plays an imperative role in the everyday functioning of the hotel. Intelligent air conditioning and lighting technology, in fact, characterize the rooms, with presence detectors to save energy. In the bathrooms, a system recovers soapy water for rinsing cisterns, along with low consumption taps. High-yield condensation boilers enable the reduction of carbon emissions. Thermal insulation systems mark the external walls. The hotel also presents eco-friendly tactics to keep in line with the green theme. «The guests leave the dirty towels on the floor. Otherwise they will be left unchanged, for use in the following days».

According to Auletta, the act of sustainability goes above and beyond the usage of advanced technology and certifications. «Often, when it is not possible to provide technological improvements, even the simple “recycling” of furniture and accessories into a new life iterates respect for the environment and reduction of waste».

E.c.ho, Milan, the lobby

Lampoon review: Orto Green Food & Mood by Eataly – Slow Food in a Virtual Garden

For food, E.c.ho Milan has partnered with a gourmet Italian products grocery store, Eataly. Chef Alessandro De Matteis’s cuisine puts the spotlight on Italian produce. The collaboration with Eataly ensures ethical sourcing of ingredients and a close working relationship with the producers. «Our partnership with Eataly and Oscar Farinetti grew for a common passion for promoting the authentic ‘Made in Italy’ and the desire to offer a high-quality food experience in our hotels». 

Most ingredients used in the kitchen are a part of the Slow Food Italy Presidium. The Slow Food movement was born as a natural evolution to protect regions and ecosystems, recover traditional processing methods, sustain quality production at risk of extinction, and safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties. Stone in neautral tones characterizes Orto Green Food & Mood. It features large windows with back-lit murals inspired by nature – reproducing a virtual garden experience. The light of this imagery changes with the time depicting a symbiosis with the outside world.

Some of their a la carte highlights include yellowfin tuna tartare with mango and leek sprouts. Carnaroli rice with asparagus and goose breast, Panciotti pasta filled with scallops and prawns, Buffalo ricotta cheesecake with taralli and pistachio crumble, tropes onion jam and balsamic reduction, cheese burger La Granda (Piedmontese bread Fassona beef, Presidium Slow Food) with zola cheese, green apple, herb potatoes, and turmeric bread, homemade maccheroncini pasta with tomatoes sauce and fresh basil, octopus tentacles in sesame crust with wasabi, mango, and raspberry vinegar. Further, a tasting menu is available. The space can accommodate up to one-hundred-and-twenty guests. 

E.c.ho’s bar and sustainable partnerships

The hotel’s bar is located in the lobby overlooking the veranda and the garden. The drinks menu offers a mix of classic, signature as well as international cocktails. «One of our signature cocktails, ‘P31 Green Spritz’, contains over twenty selected medicinal herbs and spices, absinthe, rhubarb, ginger and chamomile». The wine list focuses on natural and biodynamic wines from the key regions in Italy. Micro-filtered tap water comes in sterilized recycled glass bottles. 

E.c.ho has also a tie-up with the mobile app Too good to go to reduce food waste. «Through the app we sell leftover food at nominal prices, making an additional profit, while also partaking in the sustainability agenda». The restaurant has then partnered with Arca Foundation to facilitate donations. Guests can therefore opt to donate a certain amount at the end of their meal for the people in need. «Further, we reward our ‘best employee’ supporting Forestami: a green project to improve the quality of life in Milan». The project aims at planting three million new trees in the city by 2030.

E.c.ho Milano

Viale Andrea Doria, 4, 20124 Milan

E.c.ho is a four-star hotel in Milan by the Starhotels Group. It follows the ethos of sustainable architecture, design, and energy-efficient technology. Located a hundred meters from the Milan Center Train Station, it an accessible space for people visiting Milan, both for work and leisure. The Starhotels group portfolio boasts thirty hotels across Italy, along with international properties in London, Paris and New York.

Chetna Chopra

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

SHARE
Facebook
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Email
WhatsApp
Twitter