Solid as ever—the Marmomac Verona fair dedicated to natural stone
With four months to go until the 2022 edition, Marmomac – the most important world event for natural stone – is hard at work organising the 56th edition scheduled for September
When Marmomac returned last year after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19, it demonstrated the resilience of the natural stone industry. Not even a global pandemic could deter over 30,000 visitors (48% of which were international from 120 countries) from attending the four-day event, which draws the global natural stone community to Verona.
“The pandemic forced us to review the relationship with our customers,” says Elena Amadini, Exhibition Manager at Marmomac. “They were as unprepared to face what was happening as we were but equally willing to maintain some form of activity and relationship. So in 2020 we created Marmomac Restart digital, our first entirely digital fair, which saw excellent participation from both companies and visitors.”
“The virtual fair has pushed us and our customers to think in different terms, favouring narration over physical contact. We have learned one thing above all from the digital fair: there is a community beyond the physical walls of the pavilions (and therefore much wider than our exhibitors) with which it is possible to communicate and interact continuously.” she continues.
Back in 1965, the physical fair made its debut as the International Exposition of Marble and Machinery, a brilliant summary of its core purpose which has stayed the same ever since despite several evolutions and slight identity changes over the years.
Marmomac, much like the material it intends to promote, has stood the test of time thanks to its adaptable nature and universal approach.
At Veronafiere, importers, contractors, architects and designers from all over the world meet with exhibiting companies from around the world whose diverse perspectives have always been a defining characteristic of the fair since its founding.
In 2021, 756 exhibiting companies took part including 427 Italian and 329 international brands from a total of 39 countries.
When Marmomac came back to Verona last year, physical representation was just as impressive in part thanks to “green corridors” for international economic operators that included brands from both Egypt and Iran.
In all, 9 exhibition halls were occupied for a total of 60,000 net square metres, including the outdoor areas with blocks, slabs and large processing machinery.
“Marmomac returned,” says Amadini “and did so together with all the strengths that have accredited the show as the brand interpreter for evolution in the sector with ‘promotion-internationalisation-communication’ as the definition of its strategic role in the global market.”
Today, Marmomac is considered a landmark meeting platform for system professionals, where Italy plays a leading role. It focuses on natural stone, granite, processing technologies, means of transport and lifting, applied design and services.
Ahead of Marmomac 2022, event organisers are embracing the developments it unveiled last year in a bid to facilitate the supply chain and maintain its central role in promoting natural stone.
They include the development of Marmomac Plus, a platform offering exclusive access to the event online, and the continuation of Marmomac Talks, a series of meetings, lectures and workshops giving companies a chance to exchange ideas.
“Marmomac Plus is an annual subscription service open to the entire sector, a permanent promotional showcase for finding companies, projects and products,” explains Amadini.
The platform functions as an annual subscription service open to the entire sector, where brands can showcase their project and products, whilst gaining access to market research and analysis.
That makes it a double-faced event, targeting both the creative audience of the lithic sector such as architects and interior designers and the producers themselves that find in Marmomac the place to acquire both knowledge and technology.
So, the best talks on projects using stone, educational seminars, and market trends are to be found on Marmomac’s main stage, alongside with Marmo+Tech, drawing connections between audiences of technicians, plant managers and product developers.
Marmomac has also launched a dedicated research programme into the experience and perception of marble by various reference groups, both sector professionals and less experienced consumers, which has since become a unique marketing intelligence tool at the disposal of companies.
“The research arose from the need to investigate with greater attention and with a scientific approach the perception of this extraordinary and complex product which is marble / natural stone,” Amadini adds.
”Even if we are not a Consumer fair, this sector lacked a qualitative / quantitative analysis, and we thought we were fully entitled to promote it. There is an objective difficulty for the end-user in approaching marble, which depends in part on knowledge of the product and in part on distribution: however, everything leads back to a decidedly complex production chain.”
Despite the challenges during that time, the 2021 edition seems to have sharpened Marmomac’s focus on building a bigger and even better fair.
Ultimately, it all forms part of the event organisers’ ambition to lead the way when it comes to the promotion of natural stone, which is currently shaping the upcoming 2022 edition.
With just four months to the inauguration, the event is already confirming its international status with the return of several important names that missed the 2021 event.
Asia gets going again with bookings from India, South Korea and Japan, not to mention the United States.
“There are also very promising signals from Brazil, as well as Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt. Europe is teaming up again. Promotional work targeting visitors is also underway, with an Incoming programme implemented by the Veronafiere network of delegates and the ICE Trade Agency.”
As well as being flanked by digital events through the Marmomac Plus portal, the returning physical event will feature several experimental projects focusing on technologies and innovation.
Four cultural projects will welcome exhibitors and visitors to the Verona Exhibition Centre and, on the strength of its success last year, many shows and exhibitions will be held again.
“Close collaboration will also continue with ADI (Industrial Design Association) whereby the Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige delegation will organize “Etica-Litica”: a challenge for companies to create prototypes from a single slab, including recycled materials.”
Marble interprets the precious and fascinating essence of design and its shape through a tailor-made collaboration with international companies in the Italian marble district.
This is where Brand & Stone 4.0 comes in—an exhibition curated by Danilo Di Michele that welcomes luxury design brands that experiment with the world of natural stone using new processing techniques.
The purpose of the exhibition is to educate and demonstrate the collaborative components of capabilities, machinery, and creative design that determine the substance of stone and its countless characteristics and diversities.
As such, international designers have been called upon to work with the most committed companies in the stone and processing machinery industry to create innovative prototypes.
These products sit at the centre of the programme and serve as talking points, encouraging interaction between audiences and a selection of impressive guest speakers including stone experts, industry creative architects and designers, journalists and other special guests.
Other highlights include the Marmomac Meets Academies exhibition, which is dedicated to universities with a focus on urban furnishing curated by Giuseppe Fallacara and Domenico Potenza.
Upcoming for 2022 is a photographic exhibition on architecture and interior design projects that are representative of the use of stone material by international authors, selected by the Scientific Committee of Platform Architecture&Design magazine.
“Last but not least, Visionary Stone curated by Raffaello Galiotto seeks to promote the development of experimental works of art in natural stone processed thanks to computer numerical technology.”
“These and other projects will be unveiled over the next few months, ensuring that Marmomac is the main appointment for business and experimentation.”