Natural stone still the star of Italian manufacturing and elegance at Marmomac 2023
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Natural stone still the star of Italian manufacturing and elegance at Marmomac 2023

Natural stone still the star of Italian manufacturing and elegance at Marmomac 2023
By Editorial Staff -
Margraf, Antolini, Franchi Umberto Marmi, Cereser, Verona Stone District have participated in the project

The promotion of product culture – a genuine and essential added value for highly prized Italian products – played a key role in the success of the 57th Marmomac, the benchmark international exhibition for the entire stone industry. This year’s event had a special focus on the design, luxury, and contract market sectors, with a busy program of workshops and talks.

The four-day exhibition attracted 51,000 trade visitors (10% up on 2022) and filled to capacity the exhibition center’s 12 pavilions and three outdoor areas, representing a total of over 818,000 sq.ft. (76,000 m2). The exhibition was also the most international yet, with 68.5% of its 1507 exhibitors from 54 countries besides Italy. And this was reflected by the attendance of accredited foreign buyers from no fewer than 138 nations.


Antolini: natural stone is a work of art

Antolini displayed its finest products in a booth intended to stand out from the crowd as an “amplifier” of the company’s unique language. The result was a space to exhibit – rather than show – emotionally engaging surfaces that revealed the infinite potential of natural stone.

Curated in every detail by Alessandro La Spada and enclosed in a neutral white box – to use language similar to contemporary art – that hides its contents from view, the space had a strong museum flavor amid an interplay of transparencies created using Cristallo Vitrum, a wonder of nature that resembles glacial ice. The visitor reception area focused on one of this year’s featured stones: Patagonia Vitrum. This natural quartz, transformed by various natural minerals, was used for bookmatched wall paneling and for the sculpture-like reception counter, truly reflecting the company’s virtuosity. Backlighting enhanced the stone’s already remarkable visual impact.

A featured section of the booth was Museo Infinitum, a gallery that exhibited natural stone as a work of art. It included some of the finishes from the Textures+ Collection, which, displayed in elegant polished brass frames, resembled true sculptures with optical and tactile sensations. The next section of the booth expanded visually, with the reflective surface of the ceiling mirroring the exposed surfaces, creating a similar effect to bookmatched stone. This space featured several of the crystal products from Antolini’s collections, presented here to contrast with Tiffany-colored carpet, thereby establishing the chromatic theme of the following rooms, in which the leading role was played by the third natural stone featured at Marmomac: Amazonite. This is a quartzite with enchanting turquoise tones that stand out with dramatic intensity against an emerald green background and more neutral, warmer tones. .


Franchi Umberto Marmi presents Calacatta 900

Franchi Umberto Marmi showcased Calacatta 900, a new marble surface with an elegant, contemporary identity. This new material, extracted from the firm’s Apuan marble quarries, has a striking appearance that makes it much sought after by designers. Calacatta 900 has a milky white background with a rich backdrop of patterns created by nature that give the stone an unmistakable appearance. This is a fascinating material that can easily be used in any setting and combined with any style. But it’s particularly suitable for bathroom and kitchen counters, floors, walls, and decorative objects..


Margraf: craftmanship, technology, and design with Basaltite® and Polaris Gold

Margraf presented its most important innovations in a striking 3200 sq.ft. (300 m2) booth designed by Raffaello Galiotto. The exhibition space brought together craftsmanship, technology, and design. Featuring the innovative Velata Collection, the booth was intended to communicate Margraf’s ability to work marble as if it were a fabric, “tailoring” it to the ideas of designers and the needs of clients with a wide selection of materials, cutting edge technologies, and exquisite craftsmanship.

The Vicenza-based company also used the event to announce its important new partnership for its Basaltite® product with GB Basaltite Srl, a Viterbo firm that quarries this volcanic stone that was used for the interior finishes of the booth. Basaltite® is platinum gray with leucite crystals immersed in a microcrystalline structure. It’s a well-structured material that’s highly workable and has excellent mechanical qualities under all conditions. For centuries, it’s been used as a construction material for important buildings, stately homes, and all kinds of ornaments, always making an indelible mark on its surrounding environment. It’s processing has been documented since the Etruscan–Roman era for the construction of numerous important buildings that are still standing today.

Its gray color combines perfectly with a huge number of materials, modern and otherwise, including steel, wood, glass, and aluminum, enhancing their beauty and uniqueness. Unlike other vesicular volcanic stone, Basaltite doesn’t always need to be grouted. With its unusual hardness, natural anti-slip texture, and resistance to freezing, it’s ideal for paving and surface finishes in outdoor urban areas. Squares and façades that are constantly exposed to salt, snow, and ice, or are in earthquake-prone areas, can also be made with this material, preserving their integrity and beauty over time.

Another new product showcased by the firm was Polaris Gold, a material exclusive to Margraf. This Brazilian quartzite has unusual veining, with colors ranging from golden yellow to blue, creating extraordinary patterns, especially when bookmatched. It’s also a very hardwearing material that’s suitable for floors and walls, including outdoors.


Cereser hosts architect Jürgen Mayer H.

Cereser has been involved in the natural stone industry for over 50 years. It invited internationally renowned architect Jürgen Mayer H. to take part in both the exhibition and its showroom in Rivoli Veronese, where, to mark the occasion, the White Cloud art installation was created by architect Giorgio Canale. This artwork challenges spatial conventions and captures the imagination of viewers, evoking sensations of lightness and purity.

Mayer H. had this to say about designing with natural stone:

"My mission involves seeing architecture as a space to innovate social gatherings and activate our cities to discover their potential. We usually start a project by looking at the atmosphere we want to create. Then we look for the right material to do that. It’s very important to use the right material in the right place. When you look at marble, you see that there’s no repetition, which means that every piece is very special."

Domenico Cereser added:

“With natural stone] we’re talking about a work of art. We offer 400 different materials from around the world, each one with different colors and characteristics. Then each one is available with different finishes – we offer more than 45 – that give a different appearance to the material. There’s also the question of thickness, since using the same material, you can have a 1/8” (3 mm) thick slab or a massive block, like the one we’re producing with the Donadoni robot here in Pavilion 10. We offer numerous possibilities, and that’s something unique Jurgen Mayer is both an architect and an artist, and we need professionals like him to promote the use of natural stone.”


The Verona Stone District: growth is a priority, shared growth is better 

The Verona Stone District is an area where 734 companies, and their over 5500 employees, are involved in quarrying, processing, and distributing marble and natural stone. It’s one of the most important districts in the world for the industry and has always been a center of excellence for Italian products, as well as a global hub for the processing of marble and stone from all over the world.

To strengthen its role as a driving force for the industry, the district commissioned a study that involved all the businesspeople and executives of the 734 companies in the area to identify problems and hopes regarding future strategies and activities. The study was conducted and its findings were analyzed by Milan company Research Dogma, and was coordinated by Komma, also based in Milan.

The first thing to clearly emerge was that over 90% of those interviewed believe that the concentration of businesses in the district represents an important competitive advantage both on the local market and, in particular, internationally. This was confirmed by a similar percentage of companies stating that they’re willing to collaborate on projects with other local companies, both to expand their product offer and to respond more effectively to demand. The mentality of doing this independently – or even “jealously” – is seen as a thing of the past, with the preference now for greater collaboration.

Over 75% of companies would like to see the Verona Stone District offer a package of the consultancy services needed for modern and competitive business management, especially as regards legal services (over 30%), HR (24%), marketing (40%), communication (36%), and corporate strategy (16%).

Regarding marketing and communication for promotion on international markets, there was particular interest in Western Europe and North America, but also in markets in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and – a new development – Japan, with over 13% of companies keenly interested in the country.

Businesspeople and executives are particularly focused on training and education, not just as regards specialized and technical workers (the Salesians have operated the San Zeno school in the district for many years), but also, and in particular, for people in different areas of corporate management.

A move to establish the first Marble and Natural Stone Institute was therefore embraced enthusiastically. An initiative of the Association of Verona Marble Industries (AS.MA.VE.), the school will offer a one-year tertiary level course held within the Verona Stone District. This is another sign of the close attention that businesses are paying to tools for growth – educational ones, especially – offered within the district and by industry associations.


The Marble and Natural Stone Institute

This tertiary level school was planned and established by Piero Primavori to promote an in-depth understanding of the entire marble and natural stone industry, thereby readying young businesspeople, suppliers, and designers for the new challenges now facing the sector on both local and international markets. In-person classes will be held at AS.MA.VE.’s headquarters in Domegliara, with some classes available online, starting February 2, 2024.

Course description

  • 1-year duration
  • 400 contact hours on Friday and Saturday mornings to give students time for other work or training during the week
  • 3 weeks a month, 1 week off every month
  • A final exam
  • A certificate upon completion
  • Some online teaching
  • Divided into 8 modules covering different aspects of natural stone Key benefits
  • Highly qualified teaching staff, including university professors, industry and non-industry professionals, and executives from leading local companies
  • Classroom lessons (50%), workshops, and field visits to companies and quarries (including outside the local area) intended to give both a practical and theoretical vision of marble and natural stone
  • To recognize high merit, the Diego Testi Award established in memory of a young businessman, a leading figure in the AS.MA.VE. for many years, who died prematurely in 2020
  • According to merit, internships may be offered by companies after course completion
  • Agreements with local hospitality facilities to offer discounted accommodation for students from other areas

For more information: [email protected] –


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Credits Individual photo credits are included in each gallery image

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