Stone+tec 2005, the 14th International Trade Fair for Natural Stone and Stone Processing Technology, is scheduled for the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg in Nuremberg, Germany, from Wednesday, May 25 to Saturday, May 28. And in response to exhibitors' requests, this year's show cycle is beginning one day earlier, with intentions of more evenly distributed attendance numbers throughout the four-day event.

“The decision to move the running time forward by one day is in line with suggestions from the exhibitors, exhibitors committee and sponsors, and with considerations by NürnbergMesse,” said Walter Hufnagel, member of the management board of NürnbergMesse. “The attendance will therefore be better distributed over the four days of the exhibition, as the Sunday traditionally attracted the fewest visitors. In addition, the first day of the exhibition is now no longer the public holiday, but the Wednesday, which is a full working day.”

Held every other year, the 2003 edition of Stone+tec was deemed a success, making anticipation high for a repeat performance this year. The exhibit space will be filled with a broad range of natural stone products for both interior and exterior applications. This will include an assortment of tiles, slabs, decorative trim pieces and mosaics, which are available in a number of sizes and finishes. Attendees will also 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.

The last edition included 1,172 exhibitors from 56 countries, of which 34% were from Germany. The additional 66% came from Europe and overseas. Statistics show a breakdown of 245 companies from Italy, followed in the European region by Turkey with 42 exhibitors, Spain with 37, and France and Austria with 20. Leading countries outside of Europe included China with 144 exhibitors, followed by India with 52 and Brazil with 18.

According to statistics released by NürenbergMesse, almost 90% of the exhibitors at Stone+tec 2003 made new business connections, and 73% of the companies expect follow-up business as a result of their contacts and talks during the exhibition. Although the success of the individual exhibitors at the event differed dramatically, on average, over 70% were satisfied with the overall success of exhibiting at Stone+tec 2003, and another 7% commented that they were extremely pleased with their results, reported show organizers. A total of 56% of exhibitors confirmed by the last day of the show that they would exhibit at Stone+tec 2005.

Awards ceremonies

The presentation of two awards during Stone+tec 2005 will pay tribute to the importance of natural stone in contemporary architecture and in the preservation of historic buildings. These ceremonies are the German Natural Stone Award, which will be presented by the Deutscher Naturwerkstein-Verband in cooperation with the Bund Deutscher Architekten BDA, and the Peter Parler Award, which will be given by the Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz and the Bundesinnungsverband des Deutschen Steinmetz-, Stein- und Holzbildhauerhandwerks.

The German Natural Stone Award -- being presented this year for the 12th time -- will be held on Friday, May 27. It is a recognized architecture prize worth a total of 30,000 euros ($38,000 U.S.). This year's jury, chaired by BDA President Kaspar Kraemer of Cologne, will recognize two first prizes in different categories for the first time.

The winner in the category of “private and commercial properties of natural stone” is the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Apartment Tower Berlin, designed by architects Hilmer & Sattler and Albrecht, Gesellschaft von Architekten GmbH, Berlin. In the category of “public and cultural projects of natural stone,” the winner is U.S. architect I.M. Pei of New York for the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin.

Another highlight at Stone+tec 2005 will be the presentation of The Peter Parler Award, which is being given for the fourth time. The award, which is worth 15,000 euros ($19,000 U.S.) and donated by the Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz, recognizes 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 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.