Report from Europe - Carraramarmotec 2001: The tradition continues
Visitors came to witness the latest advances in natural stone products, installation and maintenance supplies, and stoneworking technology. A total of 862 participants lined the aisles inside the exhibition halls as well as outdoors, offering attendees a look at their most recent innovations.
Drawing attention at this year's fair were two new areas, which were specifically designed for the restoration of natural stone and highly specialized services. IMM Carrara recognized that the restoration of historical works of architecture and monuments has become an important issue over the years. As a result, the fair showed its commitment to these sectors by creating a specific area for the demonstration of restoration and conservation techniques.
Carraramarmotec also boasted a conference program, which included a variety of educational seminars. Additionally, the fair hosted a ceremony for the International Marble Architectural Awards 2001 ("IMM Carrara cites outstanding stone architecture," page 58, July Stone World.) A seminar was also held where the award winners were given the opportunity to present their works.
Exhibitor trendsOf the 862 exhibitors who participated in the fair, 111 were foreign companies hailing from 31 different countries. The countries represented included Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Iran, India, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, San Marino, Senegal, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, the U.S., Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
Among the most significant participants was India, with 18 exhibitors, according to IMM Carrara, who explained that last year, India supplied 660,000 tons of raw materials -- primarily granite -- to Italy. The organizers added that Brazil is also of importance to the Italian stone industry. In 2000, the South American country supplied Italy with 358,000 tons of marble and granite. This year, five Brazilian companies were present at Carraramarmotec.
Additionally, Turkey was a prominent contributor at the fair, with 10 companies exhibiting, and the U.S. was represented by five companies. According to statistics, Italy exported 512,000 tons of marble and granite to the U.S. in 2000.
Debuting at the fair this year were Tunisian companies, with five exhibitors coordinated by the Tunisian-Argentinian Chamber of Commerce. Also, a group of Central African countries, such as Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Sudan and Zimbabwe, were coordinated by the Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE).
AttendanceWhile the majority of visitors were from Italy, foreigners came to the Carraramarmotec from 110 different countries. Based on a survey taken by IMM Carrara, 70% of visitors were interested in stone materials. To further break this number down, 37% were specifically interested in marble, 25% in granite and 15% in other stone products. In addition, 50% of attendees were interested in technology -- including 31% in tools and 13% in services.
Taking a closer look at the visitors, 15% were architects, 17% engineers and 28% were entrepreneurs in the building industry, IMM Carrara reports. The number of foreign visitors from within Europe was 51%, which was down from the 56% who attended in 2000. The U.S. was represented by 5%, and 4% came from India and Brazil.
Strong increases were visible with visitors from Asia, rising from 5% last year to 9% in 2001. Of special note is the 4.5% from Africa, showing the importance of the Carrara fair in promoting new operators in the international sector, according to organizers.
Training coursesIn addition to the conference program, another highlight of the show was a stone technology training course offered to architects and managers from North Africa and the Middle East. The course was organized and managed by ISIM in collaboration with the Association MarmoMacchine and the IMM. Participants were selected by the Italian Trade Commission.
The course was held over the four days of the fair, and involved theoretical and practical lessons; visits to companies, quarries and workshops; and a roundtable on the final day of the fair. Another course, a specialization course on stone in faculties of architecture, was held for a number of professors from Chinese universities.
The 23rd edition of Carraramarmotec will be held from May 29 to June 1, 2002.