The organizers of Stone+tec 2003 are anticipating another success this year for its exhibition, which will take place at the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg in Germany from May 29 to June 1. Approximately 1,200 exhibitors from more than 50 countries are anticipated at this year's event, according to NurnbergMesse. These companies will offer a look at some of the most recent advances in natural stone products as well as stoneworking machinery.

The last edition of this show, which was held in 2001, drew in some 46,000 visitors and 1,251 exhibitors, hailing from 55 different countries. While 430 of the exhibitors came from Germany, over 800 came from countries such as Italy, China, Spain, France, Austria and India. Immediately following the 2001 show, 70% of the exhibitors had already committed to returning in 2003, reports NurnbergMesse.

And while the exhibit hall, which spans over 90,000 square meters, will be filled with a broad range of natural stone products for both interior and exterior applications, many more aspects of the stone industry will be prevalent. Attendees will have the opportunity to observe the newest products for maintenance, preservation and restoration of natural stone. Additionally, they can witness demonstrations of large-scale fabricating and quarrying equipment and sit in on educational seminars.

This year's educational program will include three new conferences. There will be one that will focus on laying natural stone; another will feature the Natural Stone Architects Forum, and lastly, the Federal Congress of the German Stonemasonry and Sculpturing Crafts will take place. According to show organizers, these seminars will offer tailor-made information "from specialists for specialists." "Our aim is to make Stone+tec the event for everyone working with natural stone that it already is for many: a forum for professionals and a meeting-place for friends," said Roland Kast, project manager of NurnbergMesse.

A fresh image

Stone+tec 2003 will also feature a new key visual. Hikers and mountaineers know them as the so-called "stonemen" at the edge of the path -- stones placed on top of each other to show the right path through rocky and often difficult terrain. This key visual represents the basic visual theme, and will be found on all new brochures and posters.

The design combines archaic aesthetics and symbolic associations, according to NurnbergMesse. The small solitary tower protrudes from the landscape with simple elegance and at the same time suggests the hand of the person who worked this stone. The theory behind the symbol is that stone is timeless, and the "stoneman" shows the way to Nurnberg for the next Stone+tec, reports show organizers.

Another highlight at Stone+tec 2003 will be the presentation of The Peter Parler Award. The award is presented for exemplary achievements by stonemasons in the preservation of historic buildings and monuments, such as high-quality work on registered buildings made of natural stone. The categories include conservation, craft restoration, creativity and material texture.

Peter Parler was the chief master of the Parlers, a widely dispersed family of architects and sculptors in the 14th century. The award intentionally bears his name in recognition of the influence of this architect throughout Europe. The award is given to bring public awareness of the fact that stonemasons contribute towards the maintenance and preservation of the national heritage, and as a result, improve the standing of the stonemasonry trade. Internally, the competition and presentation is intended to encourage stonemasons to become more involved in the preservation of historic buildings and monuments, and to apply principles and quality standards applicable to official preservation work.

Two prizes -- each worth $8,000 -- will be awarded. One prize is presented for a work that primarily testifies to creative craft restoration skills. The other prize is presented for a conservation measure that has been prepared with a fine feeling for the preservation of historic works, professionally executed and carefully documented.