The 2003 edition of CarraraMarmotec -- the 24th International Marble, Machinery and Equipment Fair -- took place from June 4 to 7 in Carrara, Italy. The event featured exhibits of natural stone, machinery and stone installation and maintenance products, and it also offered a number of educational opportunities for those in attendance. Moreover, the fair gave visitors a chance to visit one of the most historic stoneworking areas in the world, as the region is teeming virtually every type of stone producer imaginable.

This year, after investments by Internazionale Marmi e Macchine Carrara, the show organizer, the event featured a new entrance, a new Service Center -- covering about 11,000 square feet -- and permanent tunnels connecting the different halls and automatic ticket offices. Special areas of the fairgrounds also hosted art shops, where statues, sculptures, design, items, mosaics and other artistic and decorative items were on display.

As always, the fair had an international theme, with nearly 30 different countries represented among the exhibitors. Additionally, visitors came from the U.S., Canada, the European Union, the Middle East, South America and Africa. As seen in previous years, an exposition for stone restoration was also part of this year's fair. This was highlighted by a session on "Stone Restoration in Italy and the Rest of the World." The schedule of initiatives and meetings also included a presentation of Stone Sector, a book containing surveys on the international trade of natural stone and technology as well as updates on stone statistics. Representatives from many foreign countries were in attendance, and they discussed their respective nations' stone industries. CarraraMarmotec also continued to establish itself as a venue for architects. A contingent of U.S. architects was among the design professionals at the show, and they were able to attend design-related conferences throughout the event. Attendees also had the opportunity to explore the "Stone Library," an indoor display of stone products. This includes the famous white marbles of the Carrara region as well as other colorful stone samples. Other events included "Materials Live on Stage," a display of gigantic blocks on the fairgrounds, giving visitors a sense of the mass and permanence of natural stone.

Additionally, a specific area was set up on the fairgrounds to exhibit the designs of the winners of the International Marble Architectural Awards (MAA). This year, the MAA was open to designers who have completed works in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It was organized in close cooperation with the Italian Foreign Trade Institute (ICE) and the regional agency Toscana Promozione, which has worked with IMM to give more prominence to the relationship between quality design and natural stone. The winners of the MAA received their prizes during a traditional seminar. (A full display of the winners appears in the July 2003 issue of Stone World, pages 64-65.)

Professionals from around the world can also take part in the show on the Internet by going to the "CarraraMarmotec virtual fair" Web site at

Taking advantage of the show's locale, the organizers of CarraraMarmotec organized tours of the rich marble quarries in the Carrara region. Any visitors to the event could be escorted to see the marbles that were once worked by Michelangelo and are still popular in design today. Additionally, the continuing advancement among the stoneworking sector provided visitors with the opportunity to see virtually any type of fabrication operation imaginable, including sculpture studios, tile and slab plants and automated factories for applying resin to stone slabs -- a growing segment of the industry.