Every fall, Verona, Italy, is flooded with members of the stone industry from all parts of the world. The visitors all come to be a part of Marmomacc, which has grown to be one of the largest international stone exhibitions. This year, the stone fair will be held from September 28 to October 1, and Veronafiere, the show’s organizer, reports it will feature more exhibition space and programs, among other attractions.

“Today, Marmomacc is the landmark international trade fair for operators in the natural stone value chain,” said Maurizio Danese, president of Veronafiere. “Thanks to the added value of the Verona marble district, over the years, we have created a promotional platform at the service of the global stone trade. This market posts worldwide turnover of more than 23 billion euros and always sees Italy among the leaders, with exports worth 3.2 billion euros in 2015.”

The international event dedicated to natural stone, technologies, design and training will include 2,000 square meters of additional exhibition space with the recently renovated and expanded Hall 10 — making for a total of almost 78,000 square meters throughout the fairgrounds. This investment by Veronafiere has made it possible to respond positively to the waiting list of companies eager to attend the show.

Moreover, three new initiatives are being launched for professionals and designers: Focus Architecture 2016, a “Stone Award” with Archmarathon and an “Icon Award.” Also, collaboration continues with ICE-Italian Trade Agency and Confindustria Marmomacchine within the scope of initiatives involved in the special “Made in Italy” promotion plan, according to Veronafiere.

The 2016 event will be characterized by increased exhibitors, international status, business opportunities and new events dedicated to the culture behind stone products. “Growth will be the hallmark of the 51st Marmomacc,” stated Danese, adding this year’s edition will resume in the wake of the huge success at the 50th anniversary show last year, which attracted 1,524 exhibitors (936 international from 55 countries) and 67,000 professional visitors (3% more than in 2014).

“Marmomacc is the trade show that always made internationality one of its strengths,” said Giovanni Mantovani, CEO & Director General of Veronafiere. “In 2015, foreign buyers travelling from 150 countries accounted for 61% of visitors, an increase of more than 24% over the last three years. This is especially thanks to the format combining b2b, design and training occasions, as well as the events we organize in the U.S., Brazil, Egypt and Morocco, with the aim of strengthening and promoting the network between companies and professionals in the global natural stone community.”

The Italian Stone Theatre

The Italian Stone Theatre in Hall 1 will return this year as a result of the special “Made in Italy” promotion plan of the Ministry for Economic Development (MISE), in collaboration with ICE-Italian Trade Agency and Confindustria Marmomacchine. It will feature an entire hall dedicated to culture and experimentation of materials and machinery — two of the main sectors of the Italian lithic industry.

Deepening the experimental line adopted by Marmomacc in 2015, The Italian Stone Theater will become a place of cultural projects dedicated to “Made in Italy,” with innovative initiatives implemented by companies in collaboration with some of the leading international designers and architects. There will be three exhibitions.

“The Power of Stone” delves into the hidden qualities of materials revealed using sophisticated processing equipment and appropriate formal elaboration, utterly surprising and fascinating aspects. This is consequently a free-ranging design survey explaining materials at the heart of Italian stone culture and traditions.

The second exhibition, “New Marble Generation,” will involve designers from different trends and experiences to take up the challenge posed by stone materials with the aim of including new formal and technical research into the main design sectors in order to develop everyday products using various kinds of marble. Sophisticated processing systems mean that it is now possible to combine stone design with mass production in new and more modern ways than ever before.

“50 Years of Living Marble” will be the third exhibition. It seeks to pay tribute to the best Italian stone design products over the last 50 years. The exhibition will feature an historical anthology stimulating comparisons between the “craftsmanship generation,” starting from semi-manual processing in the 1960s through to the times of “digital stonemasons” and today’s mass production.

The area hosting the three exhibitions will also be complemented by other spaces dedicated for panel discussions. The Forum space, set in the heart of Hall 1, will be the setting for conferences and educational workshops involving internationally renowned architects and designers; a marvellous occasion for meetings and dialogue with an audience of professionals, sector members, students, professors, technicians and engineers. This will also be the casting venue for selecting the top studios of architecture as the finalists of the Stone Archmarathon Award.

The Italian Stone Theatre will also provide space for the Ristorante d’Autore, a project by ADI Delegation Veneto Trentino Alto Adige for Marmomacc that aims to celebrate Italian cuisine; a tribute to two of our country’s products of excellence: marble and food.

New initiatives

Marmomacc has always promoted the ever broader use of natural stone products applied to design and architecture, and the 2016 show proposes three new initiatives moving in this direction. This year’s show will welcome the conference “Global Trends in Design and Sustainability” — organized in collaboration with Architectural Record, published by BNP Media and a sister publication of Stone World. The goal of the conference is to outline the future for works in natural stone together with major international architecture studios.

Additionally, Marmomacc 2016 will also feature Archmarathon, the architecture exhibition bringing together 42 design studios with the creation of the new “Stone Award.” Another new event is the “Icon Award,” which will identify one of the works shown in Hall 1 as the campaign image for Marmomacc 2017.

Also returning in 2016 will be Marmomacc & the City. Now in its fifth year, the streets and courtyards of the historic center of Verona will be stage to display works and installations in natural stone developed by exhibiting companies through a full-scale open-air exhibition highlighting the versatility and beauty of this material. And lastly, the Best Communicator Award returns with its 10th edition. This Marmomacc Award promotes attention and originality dedicated to exhibit design by exhibiting companies.

Marmomacc looks at the future of architectural design through a panel curated by Architectural Record

“The Future of Design: Materials, Sustainability and Context” — in collaboration with Architectural Record, a leading international architecture publication published by BNP Media and a sister publication of Stone World, is the topic of a panel discussion scheduled during Marmomacc, on Thursday, September 29 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Forum Area of Hall 1 — The Italian Stone Theatre.

Moderated by Cathleen McGuigan, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, the panel will consist of Duncan Swinhoe, managing director of Gensler, London; Shawn Duffy, managing principal of KPF, London; and Richard Olcott, design partner with Ennead in New York City. These renowned architects, representing three equally prestigious firms, were invited to discuss current trends in architecture, in particular construction methods, sustainability and strategies to adapt projects to local contexts and conditions. Naturally natural stone will feature prominently in this discussion.

After presenting representative works from each firm to illustrate future directions in their work, the guest speakers will consider future trends in architectural design. Professionals attending the panel presentation will hopefully be active players in this dialogue.

Through this event, Marmomacc hopes to strengthen its mission of promoting the use of the stone in design and architectural applications in Italy and abroad. This approach is reflected in Marmomacc’s main message for 2016: “Yes, With Stone You Can” and through initiatives aimed at involving leading architectural firms in order to facilitate best practices in stone design.