The upcoming 37th edition of Marmomacc - the annual International Exhibition of Marble, Natural Stone and Technology sponsored by VeronaFiere - will take place from October 3 to 6 in Verona, Italy. A total of 1,330 companies will be exhibiting at the event, coming from 54 different countries and displaying the latest developments in natural stone, machinery, accessories and installation and maintenance products.

Given the fact that the world economy and the international stone industry have been in a recession, show organizers point to Marmomacc as an opportunity for innovation and dialogue with other professionals from around the world.

The 2002 edition of Marmomacc will be even larger than last year's edition, which featured 1,269 exhibiting companies from 43 countries. Qualitative research conducted among visitors and exhibitors at last year's show determined that 89% exhibitors are doing so to "expand their companies." Marmomacc is also seen as a good vehicle for consolidating company image, verifying interest in products, gaining information and updates about innovation, and analyzing the market and competition, according to last year's interviewees.

Though it appears that there is more of an interest this year in the event, last year's research also highlighted that the event has been important to exhibitors for some time. A total of 90% of participants last year confirmed that they will also be at Marmomacc this year. Additionally, over 60% percent of interviewees declared that they had attended the event for more than five years, with 33% saying they have attended for more than two years.

The exhibitors' respect for Marmomacc is also evidenced in the product selections they bring to Verona. Stone suppliers rely on the fair as a platform to release new stone materials, product lines and finishes. And on the equipment side, new machinery, tooling and products are continually unveiled in Verona, along with updated versions of existing machinery and accessories.

Education opportunities

While the 2002 Verona Fair will provide the occasion for businesses to expand, those in attendance will also benefit from the seminars and group discussions, which will provide education about natural stone.

In "Marble, Art and Culture" - a program for better understanding of different design trends and application possibilities for natural stone - there will be a session entitled, "Stone in New Italian Architecture." This event will focus on the last five years of progress in using stone for modern architecture. It will feature a variety of projects - in the form of drawings, photographs, models and videos. Included will be public and private buildings, urban areas, squares and streets, with designs by Italian architects Tobia and Afra Scarpa, Leonelli Struzzi, Augusto Romano Burelli, Francesco Venezia, Renzo Piano, Aldo Rossi, Umberto Riva, Mauro Galantino and others. The session aims to make a critical statement about the most important architectural experiences in Italy, which involve the creative use of marble and stone quarried and processed in the country.

The session, will also involve historians, designers and critics of major works, who will speak about cladding methods; the relationship between local materials and architecture; research of various materials; and the new frontiers in the language of stone. They will also debate certain aspects of the new culture of stone architecture, such as the existence of an identity in current Italian stone architecture.

Another exhibition taking place is "Fire and Water," dedicated to the use of stone in kitchens and bathrooms. In recent years, there has been an increase in interest in kitchen and bathroom designs, and this exhibit reflects some of the cutting edge trends. The showcase is the collaboration of Marmomacc and Abitare il Tempo, with architects designers and artists of international status, such as Giulio Cappellini, Aldo Cibic and Elvilino Zangrandi, as well as companies that work with stone materials, home furnishings and accessories for bathrooms and kitchens, such as Flaminia, EffetiCucine and Stone Italiana.

SIDEBAR: Certified architecture course planned for Marmomacc

Veronafiere, in conjunction with co-sponsors the Italian Trade Commission and Stone World magazine, will offer a continuing education course for U.S. architects at Marmomacc, the International Exhibition of Marble, Stone and Technology.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has designated Veronafiere, the host and organizer of Marmomacc, as an official Continuing Education Provider. The course, which is entitled "The Use of Marble and Stone Materials in Modern Architecture," will be taught by the International Marble Institute (ISIM/Marmomacchine Club), Italy's leading educational institution in the stone sector. Providing a comprehensive overview of the use of stone, the course will include a trip to a quarry and granite factory as well as a program of seminars to help participants learn how to choose, use and install the most appropriate stone materials using the latest products and technologies. Ample time will be given to allow participants to tour the 1,300 exhibitors of Marmomacc.

A core program, extended over two days, is required and will qualify for 10 AIA/CES learning-unit hours. Veronafiere recommends an additional two days to complete this course. Four full days of learning will earn 21 learning-unit hours.

This course, which has been offered for the past three years, has evoked positive feedback from former participating U.S. architects.