Food Museums – Parma Ham and Cured Meats Museum, Langhirano (PR)


Client: Municipality of Langhirano. Food Museums Association
Location: Langhirano, Parma
Project: 2001-2003
Realization: 2004

Architectural design: Marco Contini
Exhibition design: Marco Contini and Sara Chiari
Director of works: Marco Contini
Collaborators: Nicola Bonazzi, Elisa Paletti, Sara Chiari, Ilaria Petrussa

Structures: Claudio Ferrari
Mechanical systems: CD Studio
Electrical systems: Giampaolo Vecchi

Type of intervention: recovery of existing building and redevelopment of urban area
Functional characteristics: exhibition spaces, offices and tastingroom
Usable area: 822 sqm
Area: 2,152 sqm

Contractor: Buia Nereo

Photographs: P.D.P.

The choice of the former Bohemian forum of Langhirano as the seat of the ham museum is basically motivated by the following requirements:

  • location within the city centre in an easily accessible position,
  • public car parks in the immediate vicinity,
  • public ownership of the property and the area,
  • proximity to the multi-purpose cultural centre in the former slaughterhouse

The attitude that guided the design and subsequent construction of the museum was first and foremost that of a rediscovery of the existing building and its main features. For this reason, in addition to the demolition of all the curtain walls that over the years had closed the arches of the great portico, we limited ourselves to a “cleaning” of the wall parts, bringing the overall image back to its original state. The maintenance of the wooden trusses of the roof also contributes today to interpret the construction aspects of the building. Within this “rediscovered” volume, the museum’s exhibition space is located almost autonomously, consisting of a large wooden structure designed to make use of a second exhibition floor in the future.

This space is nothing more than the re-proposal of the space obtained in charcuterie factories with the use of wooden “scalere” where the hams are hung for the period of maturation.

From the beginning, the aim was to achieve an effect of rooting the museum in the territory through a reference to historical memory. In fact, the task of the museum is to illustrate the characteristics and history of a typical product (the ham); for this reason, we tried to find a link with the tradition of the product by evoking an image in which to recognize the history of production.

Even the attention to detail and the use and combination of traditional materials refers to a craftsmanship that the processing of the product requires.