There was a buzz throughout the halls of Marmomacc this year, which was held from September 24 to 27, at Veronafiere in Verona, Italy. The 49th edition of the international stone exhibition, which was held for the first time in conjunction with Abitare il Tempo, attracted more than 65,000 visitors throughout the four-day event — a 15% rise over 2013. Attendees hailed from 145 countries, which is two more than last year. The show also included 1,502 exhibitors from 58 countries.
Among the 10 leading countries who visited Marmomacc was India in first place, followed by Germany, Turkey, Spain, France, China, the U.S., Brazil, Russia and Egypt. Additionally, there was also significant attendance from the United Kingdom, Iran, South Korea, Portugal and Poland.
“This edition marked a critical step for Marmomacc, in terms of both the international development of the sector and the reciprocal promotion agreement with Expo 2015,” said Ettore Riello, president of Veronafiere. It is equally proof that trade shows are a strategic asset in Italy’s industrial policy and highlights Veronafiere’s leading role in Italy and abroad.
“This is a very positive result for the companies producing natural stone products, furniture and furnishing — all examples of excellence ‘Made in Italy’,” said Giovanni Mantovani, CEO of Veronafiere. “Such results are not fortuitous, but the result of the major promotion Veronafiere implements through its network of delegates in 60 countries, and the initiatives of Marmomacc in the world. Such action this year achieved an increase in exhibitors, joined by more than 80 companies attending Abitare il Tempo, as well as official trade delegations from 45 countries.”
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Marmomacc 2014 marked the inaugural year for the “marriage” between the stone exhibition and Abitare il Tempo, an interior design and furnishings show. The union of the two shows already has received positive feedback from architects, designers, buyers and exhibitors.
“The decision to hold the two events together turns [them] into a system representing the manufacturing excellence of ‘Made in Italy,’ involving natural stone and furniture as complementary items in a sector value chain,” said Riello. “Marmomacc — with attendance in 2013 by 54% of international visitors from 143 countries — is also the ideal platform for developing the international status of Abitare il Tempo. The initiative finally meets the needs of operators who attended Marmomacc in 2013, since research indicates that 68% of Italian and 56% of international operators believe that it is now vital to involve exhibitors from new sectors.”
Luciano Galimberti, president of ADI, also spoke positively about the collaboration between the shows. “Design has two souls,” he said. “One is more technical, and the other more narrative — and both are very well represented by Marmomacc and Abitare il Tempo.”
Marrying Marmomacc and Abitare il Tempo will also prove an advantage, as they will receive a government investment next year as part of a special plan supporting ‘Made in Italy’ through funds provided to the top national exhibitions — and the list includes Marmomacc, according to Mantovani. “This direct action seeks to increase the number of incoming international buyers and expand promotion activities abroad, thereby enhancing the already high international profile that Marmomacc and Abitare il Tempo together clearly demonstrated in the course of this year,” he said.
Throughout the four-day exhibition, it was apparent that spirits were at a high, compared to years past. Many stone industry members believe the economy has taken an upward turn, and exhibitors were pleased with the turnout at the show.
“The positive signals in half-year statistics indicating significant growth in exports for materials and technologies alike were also reflected in the trend at this edition of Marmomacc,” said Flavio Marabelli, honorary president with responsibility for Institutional Relations at Confindustria Marmomacchine. “The show confirmed its status once again in 2014 as the landmark event worldwide for natural stone and technology sectors for its international vocation thanks to strong and qualified attendance by international exhibitors and visitors.”
Francesco Pettenon, sales director of Fila, also reported positive results at Marmomacc 2014. “This edition was one of the best we’ve attended so far, with a large turnout right from day one and growing in terms of both quantity and quality,” he said. “We made good contacts, with 70% international and 30% national. The most important markets for us are Europe, Australia, the Far East and India. The show is important since it allows us to show our new products, as well as maintain relations with our customers in the 60 countries where we export.”
Ivo Siviero, sales director at Bagnara Nikolaus, shared Pettenon’s sentiments. “The show went well this year,” he said. “It is important for us to attend Marmomacc since it is the most important sector show in the world. Business contacts were good just as in other years. Many marble operators have turned abroad because “Made in Italy” is a synonym of quality in international markets.”
On the machinery side, Enrico Favaro, technical director of Breton, also spoke positively of the 2014 edition. “During show days, I saw a lot of things going on in the halls and keen interest in automation and the automated factory,” he said. “We had foreign contacts, especially from South East Asia and the U.S., which consider innovation to be fundamental.”
A creative meeting area
Arena_Santamargherita™ was designed as a place for meetings, comparisons and exchanging ideas. The project, created by architect Giorgio Canale, exploits temporary architecture to express the needs outlined by Marmomacc and Abitare il Tempo to communicate the level of experimentation, research and innovation achieved in recent years by these two international trade fairs, as well as to develop a stage for hosting the busy calendar of appointments and events.
Arena_Santamargherita™ takes its name from Santamargherita, an Italian-based company specializing in the production of agglomerates based on marble and/or quartz. Thanks to the vital input from the company, the idea took shape of giving a new look to the settings for cultural events at Marmomacc and Abitare il Tempo — transforming the traditional convention hall into a creative and futuristic example of exhibit design.
“The show went fairly well, and we made some good contacts,” said Michele Caneva, North America area manager for Santamargherita S.p.A. “In collaboration with Veronafiere, we helped implement a prestigious conference area in the new Inside Marmomacc area. This type of installation is the outcome of careful consideration by our company to promote the use of natural stone implemented over quite some years. This installation appealed to new types of visitors, such as many architects.”
A U.S. presence
The 2014 edition of Marmomacc marked the first time the Stone Fabricator’s Alliance (SFA) participated in the international event. The SFA’s goal was to broaden the brand, increase its exposure to the international stone community and show support to those companies who have supported the SFA through sponsorship, according to Ron Hannah, SFA Advisor to the Board.
“Our sponsors allow us to continue the good work that we do,” he said. “We host workshops all across North America and conduct training seminars at all the stone-related trade shows, all in an effort to raise the bar and improve the quality of stone fabrication ultimately received by the consumer. Without our sponsors, we simply couldn’t be as effective as we have been.”
As a result of exhibiting, the SFA garnered three new sponsors and received 16 membership requests from fabricator companies representing six different countries. “I’d say it was a success,” said Hannah.
Also, exhibiting for the first time was ETemplate System of Raleigh, NC. The company joined several other U.S. machinery and tooling manufacturers, including Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA; Laser Products of Romeoville, IL; and Prodim USA of Fort Pierce, FL. Additionally, Rock of Ages, a stone producer based in Barre, VT, once again had a presence on the show floor, as well as Marmomacc’s partner, Hanley Wood, and the Marble Institute of America (MIA).
As a way to bring members of the industry together, the first Stone Industry Leadership Reception was held during the show. Hosted by Stone World, MIA and The International Surface Event East (TISE), the reception featured a wine tasting of Tommasi Family Estates: Valpolicella, Ripasso and Lugana. Special thanks was also given to Rock of Ages, Atlas Copco and Walker Zanger for sponsoring the event, which was deemed a success.
“At the 2014 Marmomacc, we introduced a networking reception on day two of the show,” said Jim Hieb, CAE of MIA. “It dawned on me one year prior, which was my first trip to Verona, that there wasn’t one event that brought industry leaders together. At several U.S.-based trade shows, the MIA has traditionally held a reception, so why not do it when we travel internationally as well? As with many things, bringing in key partners is essential. So we teamed up with Stone World Magazine and Hanley Wood (StonExpo), and solicited the support of several MIA members (Atlas Copco, Rock of Ages and Walker Zanger) to introduce what we hope will become an annual gathering — a place where the North American stone delegation to Verona can engage with their international counterparts. We had over 150 attendees and expect many more next year. For the MIA, this event is what we do. Bringing together stone professionals is an important part of the intimacy of the industry. The inclusion of a local winery, coordinated by Alex Bachrach of Stone World, made the event a lot of fun.”
There were also various events that took place outside the fairgrounds in the evenings during the four-day exhibition. A large gathering of stone industry members came together for a gala dinner — sponsored by Rock of Ages, Miles Supply and Pellegrini — at the famous Maffei restaurant, which sits in the heart of Verona. The dinner provided an evening for guests to social and relax, as well as network with their industry peers.
The next edition of Marmomacc and Abitare il Tempo is scheduled for Wednesday, September 30 to Saturday, October 3, 2015.
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