Report from Europe - Stone culture comes alive at 2001 Verona Fair

September 19, 2001
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The 36th edition of Marmomacc will be held in Verona, Italy, from September 27 to 30, with displays of natural stone from around the world.

Stoneworking machinery will be in full operation on the show floor so attendees can see the equipment at work.
Marmomacc, the annual trade show in Verona, Italy, has greatly expanded its scope over the years. And this year's event, which will take place from September 27 to 30, will continue the pattern of combining the business of natural stone trade with the culture and art of stone architecture.

The fair, now in its 36th edition, will feature products from more than 1,200 companies from 33 different nations. These firms will be exhibiting natural stone in all forms, including blocks, slabs, tiles and specialty work such as statuary and furnishings. In addition, the technical side of the industry will be represented with the latest fabricating machinery and accessories, which will be in full operation on the show floor so attendees can see the equipment at work. Stone installation and maintenance products will also be on display at the fair, with hands-on demonstrations of their usage.

Last year, Marmomacc attracted a total of over 51,000 people, including over 19,000 foreign visitors (37.2%) from more than 100 countries. Of particular note, attendance by North Americans at Marmomacc increased by 60% at least year's edition. Attendance from the Far East and South America also increased last year, while regions such as Eastern Europe, Africa, the European Union and the Middle East all remained strong and steady.

An international attendance of over 51,000 was on hand at last year's event.

Quality Certification

Another innovation in this edition of Marmomacc is the opportunity for international operators to see a display of the first stone material products supplied with quality certification.

Volargne di Dolc?Italy, with contributions from the European Union, is now home to the Stone Material Testing Centre. This facility, thanks to advanced instrumentation, is able to provide certification, in accordance with the indications of Directive CE 89/106, for materials produced and/or processed by companies both in and outside Verona.

A broad range of cultural initiatives are set for this year's exhibition, including a display of natural stone baths and spas, developed in collaboration with famous architects, designers, artists, companies and craftsmen in the sector as well as public and private institutions.

Marble Art Culture

The collaboration of the stone tradesmen and artisans has been a trademark for Marmomacc, including initiatives with architects and designers from around the world. Of particular interest to the U.S. market, the fair has become a Continuing Education Provider for the American Institute of Architects (AIA). This year's sessions will educate architects on processing technologies and design methods with stone materials.

The intensive course includes the following modules:

* quarrying technology for decorative stone materials

* processing technology for granite and hard stone materials

* processing technology for marble and mild stone materials

* design methods, site direction and installation of stone works

* analysis of surface machining operations for cladding in stone materials

* cleaning and restoration of monuments and historic stone materials

* advanced stone processing technology using computerized numerically controlled machinery

* production and processing technology for agglomerates and artificial stone materials

* artistic machining operations

* stone sculpture

Local institutions and organizations assisting with the program include the Brescia Chamber of Commerce, the Verona Local Council, Turin Polytechnic University and the Veneto Restoration Center. The program, aimed at architects from around the world and U.S. professional in particular, also includes visits, lessons and workshops within the quarries, factories and processing plants.

The course will be supplemented by the active involvement of authoritative personalities in the world of architecture, including U.S. architect Pei, Swiss architect Oechslin and Italian architects Dal Co, D'Amato and Mendini.

Stone Architecture Award

On September 29, the 7th edition of the National Stone Architecture Award will be presented. The event recognizes outstanding use of stone materials for projects completed within the past two years.

This initiative, which was set up in 1987, has enabled the fair organizers, Veronafiere, to gauge trends on the current use of stone materials while at the same time highlighting aspects of traditional processing, innovation in style and technology. Additionally, the program enhances the link between the design community and natural stone. The international jury for the com-petition includes:

* Francesco Dal Co, Faculty of Architecture, Venice

* Bernard Huet, ?ole d'Architecture, Paris Belleville

* Werner Oechslin, ETH, Zurich

* Vincenzo Pavan, Co-Director, USA Institute

* Dietmar Steiner, Director, Architektur Zentrum Wien

At the presentation, the winning architects will illustrate their theories and experience in the use of stone in architecture. The award-winning projects will be displayed in an exhibition involving drawings and photos, which will be open during the exhibition in Hall 1. Additionally, the awards program includes the publication of a prestigious volume containing documentation about the prize-winning projects, introduced by critical and historical essays by eminent personalities in the world of architecture.

"The Caress of Water"

A special presentation on the use of natural stone for spas, saunas and Turkish baths, entitled "The Caress of Water," will also take place at the fair. Held in collaboration with "Abitare il Tempo," this endeavor will highlight the combination of two fundamental materials -- marble and water.

A notable aspect of this experimental exhibition will be "interpreting the material;" to understand it not only in terms of traditional heritages, but also in response to demand for modern design. The formal potential of a "timeless" material -- such as stone -- without betraying its intrinsic nature will also be explored.

As was the case in previous events of this kind, the settings and artifacts will be developed in collaboration with famous architects, designers, artists, companies and craftsmen in the sector as well as public and private institutions.

Arranged in "islands" reflecting the different geographical-production areas in Italy and abroad, "spaces for bodily well-being" will be displayed in a supremely evocative setting in Hall 1 of the Verona Exhibition Centre.

Stone Landscapes

The USA Institute, working with young architects, students and universities, will be presenting the results of its competition entitled "Mountain Cathedrals: Verona. Project for a Museum of Prun Stone Quarries and the Re-utilization of Quarry Spaces and Landscapes in Lessinia."

The design theme of this edition of USA Institute Italy develops the content of the Marble Art Culture 2000 program, stressing the re-utilization of abandoned quarries, orienting the interest of young architects towards the environmental ecology and landscape design.

For more information on the event, or to make travel arrangements, visit the official Web site at:

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