The 2000 Verona Fair offered increases in exhibit space, attendance, exhibitors and educational opportunities.

Once again, the relationship between architecture and the stone industry was highlighted through various cultural programs and exhibitions.
Having acquired a fresh look to commemorate the millennium, the International Marble, Stone and Machinery Exhibition in Verona, Italy -- now known as "Marmomacc" -- took place from September 28 to October 1. And the show was a success, with increases in attendance, exhibitors, floor space and international participation.

According to Veronafiere, host and organizer of Marmomacc, a total of 1,300 companies took part in the exhibition, displaying their products over a net show area of nearly 628,000 square feet. Veronafiere also reports that there was "exponential growth" among international exhibitors. A total of 420 international exhibitors from 47 different countries were on hand, an increase of 12.9% over 1999. Exhibitors represented stone and related products and services as well as stoneworking machinery, quarrying equipment and accessories.

Attendance at the fair also grew significantly, both overall and from overseas. Over 51,000 people attended Marmomacc, an increase of 3.9% over 1999. This includes over 19,000 foreign visitors from more than 100 countries, an increase of 17.8% over last year.

Veronafiere's post-show report also shows some interesting trends in terms of international attendance. Most noteworthy, attendance by trade visitors from North America grew 60% over the previous year. Attendance from the Far East increased 10% compared with 1999, and attendance from South America grew 12.4%. Regions such as Eastern Europe, Africa, the European Union and the Middle East all remained strong and steady.

This importance of the fair was further emphasised by the active involvement of journalists representing the trade and daily press. By the end of the four days of the show, this particular "segment" recorded an increase compared with 1999 of 25%, for a total of more than 230 media professionals from 29 countries.

The conference program was also very well received and attended, focusing on topics of major importance in economic and cultural sectors, with special focus on "Marble Art Culture" initiatives.

Other events taking place at Marmomacc include the following:

* Frank O. Gehry's DG Bank building was the focus of an exhibition which ran throughout the course of the fair entitled "Pariserplatz 3, Berlin." The project's stonework represents an intriguing evidence of the conflict between weight and lightness.

* On September 30, Spain's Rafael Moneo discussed some of his major works, including the Banco de Espana de Jaen, Barcelona's Diagonal Building, and Murcia's new City Hall.

* For the second year in a row, Marmomacc featured the Stone Facades Exhibition, which uses actual sections of building facades to illustrate the use of various stone materials or technologies. Architects whose work is included in the exhibition included: Klaus Theo Brenner, Romano Burelli, Max Dudler, Meinhard Von Gerkan, Josef Paul Kleihues, and Afra and Tobia Scarpa.

* New stone landscapes, focusing on architecture and land art in the regeneration of abandoned stone quarries, was shown in two exhibitions.

* A new addition this year was the exhibition of Archipelago of Stone, which offered a range of bathroom designs.

* The international competition of the USA Institute took place on September 29 and 30, directed towards young architects, students and the university community on the subject rejuvenating the Habsburg walls and fortifications. Collaborating with Veronafiere, the Verona Architects' Association and other local institutions, the projects of the competition were displayed at the fair.

* In addition, a continuing education course for U.S. architects was offered during the show, as Veronafiere is approved by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as a Continuing Education Provider.

The next edition of Marmomacc is schedule for September 27 to 30, 2001.