MEDARDO MONICA – Cabinet Maker

(Vigatto, PR, 1905 – Parma, 1985)

Medardo Monica, born in Vigatto on March 3, 1905 from Giuseppe and Adelfina Marchesi, worked in Carignano where his family moved, and then settled definitively in Parma. His apprenticeship took place in the atelier of Edgardo Minozzi, where the new generation of craftsman were trained and the Italian cabinet art came back into fashion, even though without a specific connotation of period style (1). Monica started working from the beginning of his teen years and when he was only eleven years old was handling the tools of his trade. By the time he was just over thirty years old he finally was able to open his own laboratory, at first in Borgo Scacchini and then in Piazzale Santafiora, and at last in Via Scarabelli Zunti, in Parma. It can be said that young Medardo, very active in the period in which Liberty Style was ending and who took part in the first dawning of Art Deco, did not give in to the temptation of following fashions, and was very attentive to produce high quality furniture regardless of the style. In his shop he kept the first issues of magazines such as «Novissima», «Vita d’Arte», «Emporium», «La Lettura», «L’artista Moderno» that reviewed the best production of national and European hand crafted furniture. At the base of the fruitful activity of this “white collar” craft, a rigorous control of design plans was always present together with a somewhat Renaissance taste with regard to proportions and perfectionist attitude in the quest for the best decorative details. Every detail that came out of the hands of Monica was made with mathematical precision with the intent to reach a final result that was perfectly homogeneous with the various components that formed the cabinet. It is not surprising, therefore, that the atelier of the Parmesan craftsman saw the protagonists of Italian architecture as clients for the realization of prestigious furnishings, from Gio Ponti to Erberto Carboni, from Carlo Scarpa to Marco Zanuso. The long and faithful collaboration with the Parmesan sculptor Carlo Corvi (1904-1978), who worked also as a teacher, and later was principal of the local Institute of Art, would bring Monica to the realization of important and significant contributions to the craft of woodworking that were featured in the most famous exhibits of the time. He died on September 15, 1985 an his heredity was gathered by his son Ruggero and his grandson Andrea, who are known for the realization of furniture of the finest design, and who at the end of the 1990s moved their headquarters to the new location of Corcagnano (Parma). For Barilla, Medardo Monica who in 1933 had realized the furniture for the offices, made in the course of the 1950s the exhibit stands designed by Erberto Carboni for the Fair of Food Conserves of Parma which was a precursor of modern day Cibus.

Gianni Capelli


1) CAPELLI Gianni, Dal Liberty al Novecento (From Liberty Style to the XX Century), in Il mobile parmigiano dal medio Evo al Novecento (Furniture in Parma from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century). Parma, Battei, s.d. (ma 1985), pp. 66-67.