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Pointing to the economic upswing in the marketplace, organizers of the 27th edition of CarraraMarmotec in Carrara, Italy, are optimistic about this year's event, which will take place from May 31 to June 3.
This year's fair will include a new hall covering more than 100,000 square feet, raising the overall indoor exhibition space to nearly 325,000 square feet, and overall space to nearly 500,000 square feet.
Internazionale Marmi e Macchine (IMM) Carrara, the organizer of the fair, reports that the number of exhibitors applying to the event have been positive. At press time, of the 412 exhibitors present in 2005 (including 61 foreign exhibitors from 18 nations), 85% were booked for 2006. This seems the very first sign of recovery of the stone industry, according to IMM Carrara, following prolonged problems that affected exports to many marketplaces.
A financial upturn in ItalyA report on the slight upswing in the market was presented by the President and CEO of IMM Carrara, Giancarlo Tonini and Paris Mazzanti, who spoke of a new liveliness of the industry. According to IMM's latest surveys, in the first eight months of 2005, Italy exported 3.2 million tons of raw and finished marble, granite, slate and other stones, with a value of 1.1 billion euros (U.S. $1.3 billion). Compared with the same period in 2004, these figures are slightly higher in quantity (+1.22%), and somewhat lower in value (-1.8%). Breaking it down further, the export of raw granite and granite slabs increased by 6.6% in quantity and 1.54% in value.
One of the most welcoming areas for exports is the Middle East, which increased its totals by 6.23% in quantity for the most precious and expensive items (raw, semi-finished and high-quality finished marble and granite).
A showcase of stoneAs usual, CarraraMarmotec will showcase stone blocks, slabs and tiles as well as precious and customized finished items, art and sculpture. Exhibitors will also display a range of stoneworking technology - including machinery for large plants as well as smaller shops - and products for stone installation and maintenance.
Of course, the Carrara region itself is one of the largest and historic stoneworking centers in the world, and visitors to the fair have the opportunity to visit stone producers of all types. Not only are the world famous White Carrara marble quarries a short drive from the fairgrounds, but large-scale stone producers are working with materials from around the world. In addition to slabs and tiles, these producers are producing custom architectural work for international landmarks.
Cultural eventsThe fair, as usual, will also include the traditional technical workshop, â€œPietre che Fanno Architettura,â€ with the presentation of the winners of the Marble Architectural Awards (MAA). This year, the awards were presented to works completed in Europe with outstanding use of marble and other stones. As part of the awards presentation, the architects will explain the current trends about marble in Europe, which has always been at the forefront of design and of the selection of materials.
Another traditional event is the presentation of â€œStone Sector,â€ a book edited by IMM containing updated and detailed statistics about the world's stone market. The schedule also includes a meeting between the press and the Federation of European Marble Industries (Euroroc), which has recently registered a European logo to distinguish natural stone materials. The Italian version is Pietra Autentica, a mark that has been designed to protect both producers and end-users.
The program at CarraraMarmotec 2006 also includes an exhibition of marble works by the masters that have made the history of 12th-century design. From a practical perspective, the event will also include a demonstration area where attendees can learn about the installation and anchoring of materials. Developed in cooperation with some advanced research centers, the purpose of the demonstration is to offer architects - who are the major endorsers of marble - the opportunity of learning more about a key aspect of the use of stone.
International promotionOnce again, the promotion of CarraraMarmotec relied on a campaign in Italian and international specialized magazines as well as participation in the largest international fairs, conferences, workshops and seminars.
In addition to the major stone exhibitions in Italy and the U.S., promotional efforts took place in Algeria, Poland, Dubai, Spain, France, Nairobi, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, India, Brazil, Iran, the Ukraine, the U.K., Turkey, Belgium, China and Portugal.
For more information on CarraraMarmotec 2006, visit www.carraramarmotec.com.