CarraraMarmotec is set to take place from May 19 to 22 in the historic stoneworking region of Carrara, Italy.

Now taking place every two years, CarraraMarmotec will be held from May 19 to 22 in the historic stoneworking region of Carrara, Italy. Since its last edition, show management has literally traveled the globe to attract the attendance of international delegations of stone industry members.

The exposition will include a full range of natural stone products, including displays of the area’s world-renowned White Carrara marble as well as other varieties of marble, granite, onyx and other materials in the form of blocks, slabs, tiles, mosaics and architectural elements. Additionally, exhibitors will be showcasing stoneworking machinery such as saws, polishers and CNC technology as well as products for stone maintenance, installation and restoration.

Exhibits will include displays of the area’s world-renowned White Carrara marble in block form as well as other formats.

According to show organizer CarraraFiere, a record number of foreign delegations - including industry members, buying agents, architects and designers - have been confirmed to attend the fair.

“[It has been] a very delicate and time-consuming job of organization that we have been carrying out in Italy and abroad together with the ICE [the Italian Trade Commission], the Chambers of Commerce and trade associations in the stone-technology industry,” said CarraraFiere Chairman Giorgio Bianchini. “And the results are concrete and visible. We will be hosting important groups at the fair both in terms of numbers and make-up. The groups are composed of professionals interested in the entire range of products on offer at CarraraMarmotec: from materials to technology; from design to services; from design and engineering to processing. The 30th year of the trade fair comes at a very difficult time for the industry, but CarraraMarmotec and the entire Apuo-Versilian area still appear to be essential for both Italian and foreign industry players.”

Marble can also be found in slab form at the event.

The events on the agenda have been jointly organized by CarraraFiere along with the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade, the Tuscan Regional Government, Lucca Chamber of Commerce and Lucca Promos, with particular attention to the selection of delegates. Moreover, specific programs will be tailored for architects and also for industry members. In all, over 500 architects and industry representatives are expected as part of official groups and delegations.

U.S. participation

Among the various delegations slated to attend CarraraMarmotec, participants from the U.S. have confirmed their presence at the event. This includes delegates from the Marble Institute of America (MIA), which will conduct its mid-year meeting of the MIA board at the event. Another group of 20 Restoration Industry Association companies will be visiting the fair and the area during their “Marble Week” tour. A third delegation composed of industry players, architects and distributors from the U.S., Canada and Gulf countries- 30 professionals in all - has already established a full agenda of meetings with experts and professionals from the industry.

In addition to granite and marble, displays of exotic materials - including backlit stone - will be in place at CarraraMarmotec.

Beyond U.S. participation, delgations will represent virtually all regions of the world. A group of 25 architects and designers will be arriving from Germany, the U.K., France, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Hong Kong and China to study natural stone and its applications.

Moreover, a group of 48 delegates will be coming from Poland, Russia, South America, Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey - all of whom are either importers or distributors of stone materials.

A range of international delegations of attendees will be at CarraraMarmotec 2010, and a number foreign stone producers have also formed international pavilions.

Cultural program

One of the most prominent events in the concurrent educational/cultural program is the Marble Architectural Awards (MAA) ceremony. The 2010 Awards celebrate their 25th anniversary with a special “Silver Awards” competition open to architects and designers from all over the world. This is an opportunity for schools and international offices to compete in a prestigious international competition, which aims to promote the use of natural stone on an international level.

The winners, chosen by an international jury, will be called upon to illustrate their work at a conference held during CarraraMarmotec to present the winning projects along with those of two other competitions: the Dressed Stone Design Award and the Innovative Design Technology Award.       

Producers will be showing cut-to-size stone materials for architectural applications as well as residential elements.

Sidebar: Carrara's stone industry by the numbers

The organizers of CarraraMarmotec have long been a leader in providing statistics regarding Italy’s standing in the worldwide stone market, and they offered a synopsis of the nation’s stone trade for 2009.

According to statistics processed by IMM Carrara, Italy exported 2.042 million tons of marble and granite from January to September 2009, including raw materials and finished products to a value of $1.47 billion - a 14.47% drop in quantity and a 21.27% drop in value compared to the same period of 2008. This is a very drastic reduction, since the 2008 figures also take into consideration the months before the serious crisis hit all markets, starting with the decline in the U.S. real estate market - which was a solid market for value-added finished products in marble and granite. Whereas raw marble materials managed to hold their ground (increase in exports of 0. 65% in quantity, but down 3.5% in value), the largest reductions were recorded in the finished products segments of marble (down 22% in quantity and 21% in value) as well as finished granite (down 26% in quantity and 27% in value).

In addition to stone products, exhibitors will be showcasing stoneworking machinery as well as products for stone maintenance, installation and restoration.

The first nine months of 2009 were also very difficult for the two main production areas of Tuscany-Liguria (with companies in the provinces of La Spezia, Lucca and Massa Carrara) and Veneto (Verona and Vicenza).

On the positive side, white marble recorded an increase in raw material exports of 12%, both in quantity and value.