(b Villa d’Alme, nr Bergamo, 1867; d Milan, 4 Feb 1929). Italian cabinetmaker and interior designer. He was born into a family of carpenters and at 14 was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker in Paris; when he returned to his own country in the late 1880s he was already a highly skilled craftsman. He spent a few weeks in Milan at the studio of Carlo Bugatti, whose exotic and extravagant designs had a lasting influence on him, and after a few months Quarti had established himself in a small workshop in Via Donizetti. Quarti's earliest works were exquisitely carved individual pieces: desks, sideboards and wardrobes in mahogany, inlaid with mother-of-pearl or silver; the style is a restrained version of Bugatti's. In 1900 Quarti was able to move to a large workshop employing 50 craftsmen, but he always made detailed sketches and oversaw the execution of each piece. By 1902, when he exhibited a series of interiors at the Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa in Turin, Quarti had moved away from the single architectonic piece to creating a whole living space, and his designs had become crisper, using oak with elegant inlays. His official successes reached a pinnacle at the Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa (1906) in Milan, where he won the Premio Reale and a gold medal for a divan he submitted. Meanwhile he received a number of major commissions to furnish whole interiors, notably for the Palazzo Castiglioni, Corso Venezia 47, Milan (1901-3), built by Giuseppe Sommaruga (1869-1917), with ironwork by Alessandro Mazzucotelli. Together they created the best Italian expression of floral Art Nouveau, inspired by, but not imitative of, northern models. At the Grand Hotel, San Pellegrino Terme (1904-7), Quarti's furnishings are more restrained, creating a sense of quiet luxury while fulfilling the needs of a modern environment.
From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.