The event is organized by IFEMA and promoted by the Spanish Natural Stone Federation (FDP), which reported that they were pleased with the international aspect of the fair. A total of 40% of the exhibiting companies and 14.85% of the visitors recorded at Piedra 2008 travelled to the fair from abroad.
Visitors to Piedra 2008 had the opportunity to visit with the leading stone quarriers, manufacturers, exporters and distributors in Spain. This included individual companies as well as groups of firms in regional pavilions. Exhibits included new stone materials being introduced to the marketplace as well as new designs, finishes, products and installation systems.
In addition to exhibitors from Spain, Piedra 2008 featured companies from nations such as Germany, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Korea, China, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Portugal, the U.K. and Turkey.
Piedra 2008 also included pavilions focusing on stoneworking technology, and the world’s leading equipment manufacturers from this sector were on hand with large-scale displays. Companies displayed exhibits of CNC stoneworking centers, bridge saws, waterjet technology, polishers and other machinery that was in operation on the show floor.
Organizers of Piedra report that the event was attended by 17,700 visitors from 77 countries around the world. Adding interest for professional attendees, the event was held jointly with Veteco, the International Window, Curtain Wall and Structural Glass Trade Show. To increase international attendance, Piedra 2008 welcomed several trade missions, consisting of more than 50 buyers from the U.S., India, Morocco, Mexico and the U.K.
â€œStone in Architectureâ€
“Natural stone has been and is the one of the best supports for the aesthetic and architectonic expression. It is the reason why the history of architecture is, in essence, the history of stone architecture,” said Moneo, who explained the influences for many of his notable works, including the Murcia Town Hall and Bank of Spain expansion, among others.
Chipperfield also discussed the importance of natural stone in ongoing architectural works. “In the present architectonic debate, the use of the natural stone lives critical,” he said, adding that he proposes “to use the stone until turning it into the essence of the building, beyond its use like support and surface.”
The presentations by Moneo and Chipperfield were highlights among a range of architectural initiatives at Piedra 2008. The event also hosted the 11th Piedra Architecture Awards, and in addition to the ceremony itself, a display of the winners remained throughout Piedra 2008. Also relating to stone in major architectural works, a unique exhibit - “The Allure of Natural Stone - Contemporary Architecture from Spain” showcased a total of 15 completed projects, with photos and diagrams on display alongside actual samples of the stones used for each work.
The closing address at the Congress was delivered by the Vice President of the Spanish Foreign Trade Institute (ICEX), Ángel Martín Acebes, and it brought together a number of important figures from the world of Spanish and international architecture, along with professionals linked to the natural stone industry.