(Verona, Italy – October 24, 2011) -- For the first time in its 46-year history, there were more foreign exhibitors and visitors than Italian at the just concluded Marmomacc, the most important annual trade fair for the global stone industry. The internationalization of the show has been going on for some time, but this year’s event confirmed this trend, registering nearly 29,000 foreign trade visitors (an 8% increase over last year) out of a total of 56,000, coming from 130 countries. The same is true for exhibitors of stone, machinery and related products. Of the 1,518 companies exhibiting this year, 849 were from outside of Italy, representing 61 countries.
Marmomacc’s global outreach makes it the ideal venue for the ongoing dialogue between international stone associations on the development of a sustainable stone certification standard for the U.S. market. During the show the U.S. Natural Stone Council provided an update to interested companies and associations on the progress of the Natural Stone Sustainability Standard. The standard is expected to be finalized in early 2012. Only stone processed in or imported into the U.S. would be eligible for certification.
The thirteenth edition of the Marmomacc Stone Academy’s continuing education program on stone design for architects reflected the show’s international dimension as well. Thirty-three architects from the U.S., Australia, Canada, the U.K., India, South Africa, and Singapore were selected to attend this year’s program. The architects spent four days learning about design with natural and engineered stone, earning more than 20 AIA credits, including 14 hours of lectures by leading stone-sector professionals. Participants visited a quarry and processing facilities in Chiampo, took part in guided architectural tours of Vicenza and Verona, and completed their week in Verona with a goodbye dinner at beautiful Villa Rizzardi, in the Valpolicella hills.
Marmomacc’s continuing education program is co-sponsored by Stone World and recognized by the American Institute of Architects, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Australian Institute of Architects, and the South African Institute of Architects.
As usual, design was highlighted throughout Marmomacc, providing stone trade professionals an opportunity to see new applications developed using the latest stone-working technologies. The “Marmomacc Meets Design” (MMD) project inspired some of the more interesting and innovative booth designs. MMD 2011 – this was the fifth edition of the initiative – paired leading international designers with stone processors. The pairings focused on this year’s theme – “mutable spirit” -- in developing everything from objects, to design modules, to entire booth designs.
Two of the MMD booths were among the winners of Marmomacc’s 2011 Best Communicator Award. The award is presented to the booths with the best visual approaches to conveying the richness and expressive potential of stone. Citco and designer Pietro Ferruccio Laviani were selected by the jury for the interaction between light and material, which, within Citco’s booth, created unprecedented spectacular effects. Designer Raffaello Galliotto collaborated with another winner, Lithos Design, to create a modular component that worked both as simple interior design object and material for booth construction. The jury recognized that this module effectively expressed the architectural potential of the material.
Three other companies, not associated with MMD, also received Best Communicator Awards. Henraux, whose booth was designed by U.S. architect Craig Copeland, received an award for the highly-elaborate sculptures exhibited at the booth, as well as the overall booth design, whose horizontal lines helped to highlight the stone materials used and showcase their intrinsic qualities.
Franchi Umberto Marmi, whose booth was designed by an in-house team in collaboration with Michele Cazzani, was selected for the use of volumes and surfaces with a limited color spectrum to generate an unexpected multitude of effects and spatial solutions.
The fifth Best Communicator was presented to the Botticino quarry workers’ cooperative, whose booth was designed by architect Ivan Tognazzi. The award was presented for a design approach based on a few simple elements with a strong chromatic impact that were used to attract attention to a single material. The material is worked repeatedly into the design as a metaphorical business card in the form of a useful product sample.
Two additional booth designs – both part of Marmomacc Meets Design -- received Honorable Mentions from the jury: Budri with Patricia Urquiola and Pibamarmi with Snohetta. Other designer/stone company pairings for MMD 2011 included: Setsu & Shinobu Ito with Grassi Pietre; Michele De Lucchi and Angelo Micheli with Stone Italiana; Flavio Albanese with Margraf; Marco Piva with the Region of Apulia; Philippe Nigro with Testi Fratelli; Giuseppe Fallacara, the Polytechnic Institute of Bari, and the University of Budapest Architecture Faculty with Reneszánsz Köfaragó Ztr; and Riccardo Blumer and Donata Tomasina with Trentino Pietra, the association representing the natural stone sector of the Italian province of Trento.
The next edition of MARMOMACC will be held from Wednesday, September 26th through Saturday, September 29, 2012.
For more information on Marmomacc or digital copies of the images, please contact: The Consultants International Group in Washington, DC (Sebastiano Brancoli, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel.: 202-783-7000).