In the quaint town of Orta San Giulio, within Piedmont’s serene landscape overlooking the hidden jewel that is Lake Orta, the La Darbia Hotel stands as a testament to hospitality’s silent revolution. Orchestrated by the architect-brother duo, Gian Carlo and Matteo Primatesta, the hotel embodies the epitome of “quiet luxury” and Italian Dolce vita, making it a sanctuary for those discerning souls who seek beauty in design and depth in detail.
La Darbia Hotel Technical Information
- Architects1-2: Studioprimatesta
- Location: Orta San Giulio, Lake Orta, Piedmont, Italy
- Topics: Rural Architecture
- Project Year: 2018 – 2022
- Photographs: © Tobias Kaser
Architect brothers Gian Carlo and Matteo Primatesta have ventured into unknown territory by transforming an abandoned rural settlement on Piedmont’s Lake Orta into a sophisticated holiday hideaway that reflects quiet luxury and Italian Dolce vita at its finest.
La Darbia Hotel Photographs
The Essence of “Silent Aesthetics” on the Shores of Lake Orta
La Darbia is perched on the shores of Lake Orta, a shimmering body of water roughly an hour north of Milan and not far from the Swiss border. It sits in the shadow of Monte Rosa, the Alps’ second-highest peak, which stretches majestically towards the heavens. Unlike its more popular siblings, Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, Lake Orta has managed to remain relatively inconspicuous, which adds to its charm and allure.
Becoming hoteliers was a new terrain for Studioprimatesta, yet their architectural background played a significant role in redefining what luxury means in the 21st century. The 20 suite apartments are articulated with an understated elegance that reflects the simple formal language of Piedmont’s rural structures. Local materials, Mediterranean vegetation, and unembellished handicrafts are integrated seamlessly, amplifying the property’s core architectural and conceptual leitmotif.
The interior chromatic scheme is deliberately attuned to nature’s nuanced palette, creating a gentle transition from the exterior landscapes into the intimate, ivy-clad suites. These spaces are designed to be introverted towards the forest and expansive towards the garden, vineyards, and the heated saltwater pool. It is a sanctuary where one can enjoy a yoga session on the sundeck, with a panoramic vista of the lake and surrounding mountains as the backdrop.
Another jewel in La Darbia’s crown is its on-site gourmet restaurant, “La Cucina,” presided over by Chef Matteo Monfrinotti. The restaurant has quickly become a coveted secret among discerning epicureans worldwide. Reflecting the regional identity of Piedmont, “La Cucina” is committed to utilizing local ingredients to craft genuine, gourmet-level dishes.
One of La Darbia’s most compelling aspects is its commitment to sustainability and community engagement. With policies such as zero-kilometer sourcing, organic vegetable gardens, and collaborations with local artisans, the property demonstrates how luxury and conscientious living can exist in harmony.
La Darbia Hotel Image Gallery
Studioprimatesta, founded in 1995 by brothers Gian Carlo and Matteo Primatesta, is an architectural studio rooted in the picturesque landscape of Lake Orta, Italy. With an interdisciplinary team that includes key players like Andrea Strambo, Giacomo Leonardi, and Ilaria Giacomini, the firm boasts a diverse portfolio that spans from historic wine cellars to modern offices and industrial spaces. The studio’s signature approach prioritizes an emotional connection to architecture over an intellectual one, deeply integrating the history and spirit of each location into the design. This results in modest, function-driven buildings that exude a timeless quality, often achieved in collaboration with landscape architect Anna Regge. While their designs remain understated, they invariably evoke a ‘wow’ effect, underscoring the studio’s commitment to an architecture of silent impact.
Notes & Additional Credits
- Architects and Owners: Gian Carlo and Matteo Primatesta
- Landscape Architect: Anna Regge