Each year, the Marmomacc Stone Academy's "Designing with Natural Stone" is held in conjunction with Marmomacc, the large stone exhibition held annually in Verona, Italy. The 2014 edition will mark the 16th anniversary of the course, which is organized by Veronafiere and sponsored by Stone World magazine, Contemporary Stone & Tile Design's sister publication.Marmomacc Stone Academy's

Veronafiere offers this course to help architects learn advanced techniques in the use of marble, granite and other stone materials, and explains that "the program is a unique combination of classroom lectures, guided architectural tours and field trips to local quarries as well as to natural stone processing facilities." I am fortunate enough to partake in this event every year, and each time, I witness the same reaction from the architects -- awe and curiosity. They are always amazed and excited when visiting the quarries and stone processing plants -- asking many questions to better understand the material and the production process. And that is exactly the point of an educational course such as "Designing with Natural Stone" -- to educate architects on the qualities of an assortment of stone varieties and let them see their source.

Because the course has been so successful for well over a decade, the Marmomacc Stone Academy has branched out to offer it in other regions beyond Italy. It recently completed its first edition in Brazil -- held in conjunction with the Vitória Stone Fair/Marmomacc Latin America. Architects and designers from Canada, Brazil and the U.S. were chosen to be a part of the first bilingual program that the Marmomacc Stone Academy has ever offered outside of Italy. Those interested can read more about this on Stone World's website at: http://www.stoneworld.com/articles/87987-studying-in-the-southern-hemisphere.

The next stop for the "Designing with Natural Stone" will be Portugal. In just a few weeks, I will head to Lisbon to join a group of select architects and designers on their journey to see quarries, fabrication facilities and architecture. On trips like this, I also enjoy meeting new people to hear about their experiences with stone and possibly cover some of their work in future issues of our magazines.

So, if any of you out there are interested in participating in the "Designing with Natural Stone" 2014 edition in Verona, Italy, submit your applications now. The deadline is Tuesday, July 15th. You can read more details in the Industry News section of this edition of the Stone & Tile Design Insider. I hope to see you this fall in Verona.