A Spotlight on Natural Stone at Marmomac 2023

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There is an undeniable beauty in marble and other fine stone, whether you’re regarding a simple but splendid slab or an exquisite, intricate sculpture. This past fall, more than 1,500 companies from 54 countries convened once more in Verona, Italy, to celebrate that natural beauty and all its applications at Marmomac, the premier annual international trade show dedicated to stone and the industry’s latest innovations, trends, and architectural applications.

For four days at the end of September, a community of high-profile distributors, contractors, buyers, architects, and designers gathered to contemplate the future of this age-old material. “Marmomac is a true international business hub,” says Federico Bricolo, president of Veronafiere, the 350,000-square-meter exhibition space where the event took place. “It’s where relationships are developed to guide the present and future of the natural-stone market.” Here’s our look at what took place at Marmomac this year, including top trends for 2024; cutting-edge innovations; rock-star designers, architects, and brands that exhibited; and the winner of our Matter of Stone award.

wall cladding at savema’s installation in the elle decor curated matter of stone exhibit

Courtesy of Marmomac

Wall cladding at Savema’s installation in the ELLE Decor-curated Matter of Stone exhibit.

Cutting Edge

The Matter of Stone exhibit, sponsored by ELLE Decor, put a spotlight on a curation of gorgeous and intriguing applications of natural stone in construction, interior design, and home furnishings. Some of the designs leaned into stone’s substantial, more classic appeal: the F.H.L. Kiriakidis Group of Greece, for instance, installed sleek steps and grand arches that framed swirling bas-relief carvings, while in another area Marmi Strada revealed a graphic and monolithic kitchen sink carved from black stone. Other installations at the trade show featured wall cladding that brought out the beauty of the stone’s veining, or simple metal joinery. In contrast, many designs managed to evoke fluidity—with Möbius-like table bases and columns resembling curls of ribbon. Even more impressive, Margraf’s solid Bianco Covelano marble mimicked furniture draped with delicate cloth.

a person holding a white sheet

Courtesy of Marmomac

Margraf sculpted Bianco Covelano marble into pieces that appear to be draped with delicate cloth.

And ELLE Decor’s Matter of Stone award went to Nikolaus Bagnara for his Beyond by Bagnara project designed by Studio Draw, whose installation featured French marble varying in tone from gold to black. Along with slabs and wall cladding, the display comprised modern streamlined chairs, surfaces, and tables.

details of a table and chair in award winner bagnara’s display

Courtesy of Marmomac

Details of a table and chair in award-winner Bagnara’s display.

Technical Art

The intersection of art, technology, and natural stone held the spotlight in the Plus Theater in Hall 10, which served as the venue for workshops and talks that explored the relationship between stone, machines, design, and art. Throughout the event, the Applaud installation was a focal point: Visitors could watch as a robot carved a block of Cammeo Imperiale into Fragment, a sculpture of two crossed fingers designed by artist Andreas Seroner. Also in Hall 10, artist Raffaello Galiotto curated the Herbarium Mirabile, a collection of 17 plant-like sculptures machine-carved from marbles of various colors from around the world.

modern design meets classic marble in marmi strada’s kitchen sink

Courtesy of Marmomac

Modern design meets classic marble in Marmi Strada’s kitchen sink.

Schools of Rock

The Marmomac Meets Academies initiative had scholars from international universities, polytechnic institutes, and academies of art exchanging ideas and delving into topics that included 3D printing, eco-friendly processes, and the application of stone slabs just a few millimeters thick.

And in his masterclass lecture, renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta called out the timelessly modern aspects of incorporating natural stone in architecture. “The changes introduced by architects become a part of our human landscape at a very basic level,” he said. “They are images which, in the course of time, resurface with different meanings. These images are influenced by the materials we choose. Stone is characterized by its great ductility, as it can alter its aspect, its structure, and as a consequence, its image. Like other natural materials, stone, if well treated, improves with age, which is a fundamental variable in architecture.”

Next year, Marmomac will be held in Verona from September 24-27, 2024.

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