Now taking place every two years, CarraraMarmotec opened on May 19 in the historic stoneworking region of Carrara, Italy. The pace of the show was relatively slow on the first day, but has picked up as the days progressed. Moreover, there seems to be an increase in visitors from the Middle East as well as Africa -- with attendance from these areas bolstered by a promotional campaign by show management.

On a related note, a number of major Italian stone suppliers are reporting that they are in the process of fabricating large-scale projects for that market. Although sales in Dubai have cooled significantly, locales such as the United Arab Emirates are still spending significant money on architectural stonework.

A number of American stone industry members were also in attendance, as the Marble Institute of America held its annual Board of Directors Meeting in conjunction with CarraraMarmotec. The organization also hosted a reception for its members at the close of the fair's second day.

Stone suppliers on the exhibition floor are displaying local materials such as the region's famous White Carrara marble as well as other marble, granite, limestone and onyx products from around the world. Stone can be found in a range of formats, including tiles, slabs, architecural pieces and even blocks.

In the machinery sector, firms were showcasing a full range of equipment, and some companies have working models of new machines on display in Carrara. Among them, GMM received a "Innovative Design Technology Award" for its Litox CNC bridge saw (pictured), which has a cutting head that works on five axes.

Look for a full report on the 2010 CarraraMarmotec fair in a future print and online edition of Stone World.