Return to Verona: British visitors are back at Marmo+Mac in Italy

Marmo+Mac 2022

Not quite back up to pre-pandemic levels, but there were plenty of British visitors to Marmo+Mac in Verona this year.

Natural Stone Specialist and the Natural Stone Show from London were back in Verona at the end of September sharing a stand at the major European stone exhibition of Marmo+Mac. There is nothing to beat face-to-face meetings and actually seeing and touching stone and equipment, and there were a fair number of visitors from the UK at the exhibition this time, judging by the number we saw.

The show itself was still a little smaller than it had been for many years pre-pandemic but remains Europe’s pre-eminent gathering of the world of stone.

In Verona, the UK agents of the machinery companies exhibiting were all in good spirits and happy to see customers and potential customers from the British Isles, including a delegation from Stone Federation Great Britain and members of the Worktop Fabricators Federation.

The exhibition organisers said the 10 halls that the exhibition filled this time hosted 1,207 exhibitors from 48 countries, including Italy. The number of exhibitors was less than pre-pandemic, especially of non-Italian exhibitors, although exhibitors from outside Italy still accounted for 60% of the total in spite of notably fewer from China, where cities are still being locked down to combat Covid-19, and Russia and Ukraine.

The show never gets many exhibitors from the UK but Portland limestone mining company Albion Stone has become a regular and was back again this time after deciding not to attend last year’s hesitant restart of Marmo+Mac, hampered by Covid precautions at the show itself and on aeroplanes for getting to and from it.

Apart from the stand of Natural Stone Specialist magazine and the Natural Stone Show in London, which has even greater relevance to British buyers and those who want to sell to them now Britain has left the European Union, UK exhibitors were LPE Group (including Laser Products Europe), Integra Adhesives, and slab supplier UK Solmar in conjunction with Italian parent CMP Solmar.

Stone Industry Group (SiG) also had the British-made Trolex Air XS devise that measures levels of crystalline silica in the air in real time on the Turrini Claudio stand (SiG sells Turrini Claudio water recycling and dust suppression systems in the UK and America).

The dates of the show had changed this time so it ran from Tuesday 27 September to Friday 30 September. Previously it has ended on a Saturday, although Saturdays have tended to be for local consumers, bumping up visitor numbers but not adding much, if anything, to most exhibitors' satisfaction.

The organisers say there were 47,000 visitors to Marmo+Mac this year – that’s 50% up on last year with 97% more from overseas at 28,200. That’s not back to the 60,000-plus visitors the shows regularly had before the pandemic, but exhibitors seemed generally satisfied.

Maurizio Danese, CEO of Veronafiere said: "Marmomac this year has witnessed an impressive quantitative and qualitative return of operators from target countries such as the United States, Brazil, India and Turkey."

The Stone Theatre usually in Hall 1, was this time called the Plus Theatre and was in Hall 10, while Hall 1 remained closed. The Theatre shows the concepts of top designers created in stone by Italian stone companies using sophisticated Italian CNC machinery to show what it is possible to achieve in stone when imagination, fabricating skills and technology work in harmony.

Marmo+Mac 2022 also saw the launch of a new green approach for the Italian natural stone supply chain with the presentation of a 10-point plan called (translated to English) the Authentic Natural Stone Sustainability Manifesto, signed by companies belonging to the Pietra Naturale Autentica (PNA) network, which was formed by 60 companies in 2020 under the Presidency of Stefano Ghirardi. Veronafiere is a member of PNA.

Under the slogan ‘no fakes, natural stone is better’ PNA is an international effort to use the collective strength of the participants to get the stone message out to architects and other specifiers, particularly those in the UK and the USA.

The Sustainability Manifesto is an environmental declaration for natural stone products, involving a commitment by companies in the sector to adopt a certified and circular production cycle to ensure increasingly lower environmental impact affecting water use and air pollution, including CO2 emission levels.

Following Marmo+Mac in Verona, the activities of exhibitors will continue to be promoted on the Marmomac Plus virtual portal, developed as a response to Covid in 2020 when the live show in Verona could not be held. Marmo+Mac Plus continues 365 days a year to maintain the momentum of the exhibition until it returns to the Verona fairground next year, 26-29 September 2023.

Pictured below is some of the British (and other) involvement at Marmo+Mac this year, followed by a video summary of the event.

Albion Stone
Michael Poultney and his son, Jordan, on their Albion Stone stand at Marmo+Mac. They complained that thanks to Brexit they had been forced to pay £900 to get their Portland limestone samples through customs, whereas before Brexit they had not had to pay anything.
Brachot
Martin Dolby, formerly with Beltrami and heading the Brachot stone wholesalers in the UK since Beltrami was taken over by Brachot. He is pictured here with the eight new Unistone designs introduced at Marmo+Mac. They should be available in the UK by the end of November.
Verona Stone District
Locals made the most of their connection to Verona.
Brazil
Brazil and Turkey played a major part in pushing the number of overseas exhibitors at Marmo+Mac this time up to 60% of the total number of exhibitors.​​​​​ The pictures above and below show just a few of each country's stands.

Turkey

SiG with Trolex
Gerry Van Der Bas (left) and Simon Bradbury of British company SiG (Stone Industry Group). SiG sells Turrini Claudio water recycling and dust suppression systems in the UK and America (Gerry heads the business in America) as well as its own SiG systems that are made in the UK. Here, the two men are pictured with the new, British-made Trolex Air XS unit sold by SiG for monitoring crystalline silica dust concentrations in the air in real time using a laser inside the unit. Simon says that SiG has sold more than 60 of the units, most to America but 16 to fabricators in the UK and Ireland. Thomas Sullivan of Granite Tops Ireland, pictured below with Simon at Marmo+Mac, was the first fabricator in Ireland to buy the Trolex AirXS.

Thomas Sullivan with Simon Bradbury

LPE Group
Laser Products Europe Director Dean Bell (left) with LPE Group Managing Director Carl Sharkey. The LPE Group, showing Omni Cubed handling products and Better Vacuum Cups (BVCs) as well as the digital laser templaters, was one of the few British-based exhibitors at Marmo+Mac.
Marmo Meccanica
Andy Bell from the UK company Stone Equipment International with Rita from MarmoMeccanica, whose edge polishers Andy sells in Britain. Andy says customers are buying top-of-the-range edge polishers as they find it hard to recruit people for hand finishing.
Denver
Denver owner Alvaro Giannoni (left) with Mark Brownlee, the owner of Accurite, which represents Denver in the UK. The Quota is going into stock at Accurite now that Marmo+Mac is over so it is ready for a quick delivery when a customer wants it.
Biesse Intermac
Intermac introduced its rebranding as Biesse Stone. Biesse also sells glass, wood and other processing machinery and has brought the brands together under the Biesse name to capitalise on the strength of the brand.​​​​​​
Donatoni
Donatoni Macchine, previously represented by Intermac, is now being represented in the UK and Ireland by a new company called Stone Automation Ltd set up by Salvatore Caruso, pictured on the left above with Simone Dan, the manager of Donatoni for an area that includes the UK.
GMM with Bavelloni
Darren Bill, a Director of Roccia Machinery, the company that represents GMM in the UK and Ireland, on the GMM stand at Marmo+Mac, which was showing for the first time Bavelloni CNC workcentres. GMM has this year bought a controlling interest in Bavelloni and Darren says that from 1 January 2023 Bavelloni workcentres will replace the Bottero Practicas Roccia has been selling.
CMS Brembana
CMS Brembana is represented in the UK by Stone & Glass Group, whose MD, Phil Birchall, was in Verona. At Marmo+Mac CMS launched the new Brembana Kartesia, which requires less human interaction for higher productivity. When human interaction is required, the work is aided by the table being higher and there being no pipes to get in the way.
D Zambelis
Stella, Angelica and Jasper Zambelis (respectively fourth, third and second from the right) from UK machinery and equipment supplier D Zambelis, with suppliers and customers on the Omag stand at Verona. Omag is just one of the companies whose products are sold in the UK and Ireland by D Zambelis. Left to right in the picture are: 
Sabine Berzieri - Cidiam Group
Geoff Everson - Jamb 
Tom Jackson - Jamb
Geoff Riley - The Blue Pearl Granite Company
David Bevan - The Blue Pearl Granite Company
Stefano Bossi - OMAG SpA
Gabriele Bruno - OMAG SpA
Stella Zambelis - D Zambelis
Angelica Zambelis - D Zambelis
Jasper Zambelis - D Zambelis
Marco Cavalleri - OMAG SpA
New Stone Age at BV-Tech
James Turton (right), MD of UK company New Stone Age, which sells BM and BV-Tech machinery in the UK, with Frederico Venturi, the 'V' in BV-Tech. The CAL BV-600 in the picture is on its way to the UK for a company in North Yorkshire, where it will join two others making ashlar and paving.

There is a quick tour of some of the highlights at Marmo+Mac in the video below.