Exhibitions: Marmo+Mac 2018, Verona, Italy

The Italian Stone Theatre at the entrance to the Marmo+Mac stone exhibition in Verona.

Italy reinforced its position as the leading European trading nation in natural stone as it hosted the annual Marmo+Mac international stone exhibition in Verona at the end of September. And, as ever, the British played their part.

The Italians understandably like to give a special place to their own stones and the ability of their companies to work it at their world-class exhibition in Verona each year.

At this year’s exhibition at the end of September, too late to make it into the previous issue of this magazine, they once again exemplified their skills in the Italian Stone Theatre, where top designers, mostly but not exclusively Italian, were invited to exercise their imagination, and Italian stone firms produced what they had designed. The makers of the computer-controlled machinery used to manufacture the designs in stone sponsored the contributions.

There was even one this year designed by English-born Jon Isherwood, who heads the Digital Stone Project, as featured in Natural Stone Specialist.

The number of British stone producers exhibiting on their own stand this was down to one – Albion Stone, with its Portland limestone. This was the producer’s sixth year at the exhibition as it continues to promote the stone as a premium product internationally. It has agents in Australia and the Far East, and welcomed on to its stand this time Jonathan Richardson, previously working for British company Burlington in the USA and now running his own company, Urban Stone, selling British stone, particularly Albion’s Portland stone, to an international market.

Jonathan told NSS he would be “weaponising Albion Stone in a global market”. He said no stone has a better pedigree and history than Portland, the stone that built London, and that “if you have a material as good as this with a story behind it you can sell the dream”.

Stone Federation Great Britain was once again at the exhibition, sharing the EuroRoc stand as Stone Federation stalwart Peter Harris has been the President of EuroRoc for the past two years, his term of office concluding during Marmo+Mac when he passed on the responsibility to his successor, 

Stone Federation Great Britain participated in both the World Stone Summit and the EuroRoc General Assembly, and said it was encouraged to see that in both the technical and marketing fields the British Stone Federation was among the leaders.

As well as Albion Stone, British Federation members exhibiting at Marmo+Mac included Airemamores, Fila, LSI Stone, Lithofin, Mapei, Schlüter-Systems and, of course, this magazine and the Natural Stone Show in London, which is taking place at ExCeL 30 April-2 May next year, supported by Marmo+Mac.

The British and Irish companies that supply machinery, tools and consumables to the quarries, mines and stone processing companies were to be seen on the stands of the companies whose products they sell in the UK and Ireland. Some snippets of news accompany the pictures on these pages and there will be more about the developments in future editions of this magazine.

The stone industry in Italy is a major sector and has a lot of clout, and in response to its complaints about a growing number of man-made materials at Marmo+Mac, this year ceramics, stoneware / porcelain and glass were refused stands.

But the cut-off point was set at the temperatures used in the manufacture of the products, which meant engineered quartz was allowed to be exhibited.

The Natural Stone Show in London has also responded to concerns about the number of man-made products being exhibited by creating a separate exhibition called Hard Surfaces that will co-locate with the Stone Show in ExCeL next year, maintaining the exclusivity of natural stone while attracting a wider range of architects, designers and developers.

In Verona, The Size, which makes Neolith, one of the sintered products, previewed eight new designs in the Crowne Plaza Hotel next to the exhibition. The most popular will be added to the range for 2019.

Marmo+Mac saw growth this year in the number of visitors from the United States, China, India and Russia, while the numbers from European countries was stable, with most once again from Germany and Spain, and there were first time visitors from states in Africa and East Asia, pushing the number of countries represented at the exhibition up slightly from last year’s 147 to a round 150 this year.

Marmo+Mac is firmly established as one of the World’s truly international exhibitions, with more than 60% of the 1,600 exhibiting companies coming from outside Italy and 62% of about 68,000 visitors over the four days of the exhibition originating from outside Italy, again up slightly up from 60% in 2017.

Above and below. The Italian Stone Theatre promotes the technical ability of Italy’s stone industry by inviting designers to be imaginative and then producing in stone what they imagine. Below is this year’s Icon first prize winner. It is by Elena Salmistraro, produced in Arabescato Orobico from Cave Gamba by Vicentina Marmi using Donatoni machinery.

Albion Stone, which mines Portland limestone, was the only British stone producer exhibiting this year. Managing Director Michael Poultney (left) is pictured with Jonathan Richardson, previously with Burlington and now running his own company called Urban Stone selling British stone abroad.













British company LPE Group showed the American products it distributes in Europe. MD Carl Sharkey (right) is pictured with Dean Bell, the newly appointed European Sales Manager for Laser Products Europe. LPE Group also has a separate operation in America selling Italian Turrini Claudio dust collection and water management plant.






Peter Harrison (right) came to the end of his two-year term as President of EuroRoc during Marmo+Mac. He is pictured here with Stone Federation GB President Tim Yates and Chief Executive Jane Buxey. The British Federation was involved in the World Stone Summit and EuroRoc General Assembly held during the exhibition. Pictured right through the glass wall at the back of the room is one of the seminars.






Andrea Caserta (left), MD of Stone Italiana, with area managers Denise Nicolin and Carlo Bindi. A new company called Italian Luxury Surfaces is now distributing Stone Italiana in the UK.







On the Thibaut stand, Bruno Machado (centre) of On Point Engineering, which is now distributing the French machinery in the UK, flanked by his two engineers. On Point has also now taken on the agency for Manzelli vacuum lifting equipment in the UK.







Andrea Ronconi, an engineer with Marmo Meccanica, explains the finer points of the new LCR that has proved so popular in the UK to Stone Equipment International engineer Paul Hamilton. In the background is Stone Equipment International proprietor Andy Bell.






Turrini Claudio water management systems are being sold in America by LPE Group. Pictured (left to right) LPE Directors Carl Sharkey and Simon Bradbury, Gerry Van Der Bas, the new President and Chief Executive Officer of LPE Group North America, and Alberto and Ricardo Turrini.













Pat Sharkey (left) of the engineering company that bears his name with Carlo Scaletti of Dazzini Macchine, represented in the UK by Pat Sharkey Engineering and introducing the PD1500 quarry saw in the picture.







On the Denver stand, Mark Brownlee (left) of Accurite, Denver’s UK agent, with Sante Zanetti of Marble Flooring Specialists in Bristol.






Tecnema has been bought by Breton. Among the machines it makes is one for producing mosaics. On the stand are Alessandro Fava (left) and UK agent Ian Bradwell from IB Stone Tile & Machine Agency.







Matteo Traini from Intermac introduces Sophia, Intermac’s Internet of Things, which is now a distinct division of the company.






Phil Birchall (left), MD of SMC Stone Machinery, UK agent for Brembana, with customer Marco Pernes of Neo Granite, who had bought two of the machines on the Brembana stand in Verona.







The big news on the GMM stand was the takeover of the Australian Techni Waterjet company. Arran Langford from UK distributor Roccia Machinery is pictured with the machine.






The Zoler Smile 420 increases diamond tool life, reduces set-up time by hours and is coming soon from Waters Group in the UK.







Peter Stewart (right), MD of Scottish stone company Tradstocks, with the BV-Tech production line on its way to his company. With him is James Turton (middle) of UK agent New Stone Age and BV-Tech Director Federico Venturi.