International Natural Stone Fair

Between 7th and 10th May, FERIA DE MADRID will provide the setting for the staging of the seventh edition of the International Natural Stone Fair, PIEDRA'08, a biennial event organised by IFEMA and promoted by the Spanish Natural Stone Federation (FDP). With still two months to go before the event itself takes place, more than 500 manufacturers, exporters, importers and distributors of natural stone and machinery have confirmed their attendance at the fair. At its next edition, PIEDRA will present an exhibition area measuring 65,500 m² in Halls 3, 5, 7 and 9 at the fairground at Feria de Madrid.

The excellent results achieved at the last edition in 2006, based on a total of 936 participating companies (532 direct exhibitors) and the attendance of 31,744 trade visitors, have made PIEDRA the most important event of its kind for the industry in Spain and an outstanding point of reference for the industry at an international level. Backed by the leading companies within this industry in Spain, PIEDRA will consolidate the attendance of Spanish exhibitors at the fair. In this respect, we might highlight the presence of various official halls representing different Spanish Regions such as Castile-Leon, Extremadura and Galicia.

Furthermore, the strong level of interest in the fair abroad has boosted the attendance of exhibitors from Spain's neighbouring countries, such as France and Portugal, along with exhibitors from other European countries such as Italy, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Bulgaria. South America will be represented by Peru and Brazil, whilst the African continent will be represented by Egypt, the Lebanon and Nigeria. Pakistan, Turkey, India, Korea and China will also take part at this edition, alongside Iran, a country that will be present at PIEDRA for the first time.

The offering at PIEDRA'08 will present the different products, new features and services within the following segments: quarrying; elaboration and transformation; craftsmanship; Handcrafted Stone; Decoration; Design and Marketing; Stonecutting and Restoration; Stone-Laying; Machinery; Adamantine tools; Abrasive agents; Tools and accessories; Funerary Art and Management of by-products. The fair will also feature the presence of bodies and associations linked to the industry, not to mention the specialised press. This comprehensive exhibition is be of great interest to natural stone distributors, extraction companies and elaboration companies, as well as architects, builders, property developers, decorators, designers, interior decorators and different parties who recommend the use of natural stone.

Coinciding with its trade exhibition, PIEDRA will also host the staging of different activities designed to offer an added-value dimension for trade visitors. The purpose of these measures is to promote the use of Spanish natural stone and awareness of its rich appeal, high quality and decorative applications within the field of building.

In this respect, IFEMA and the Spanish Natural Stone Federation (FDP) will organise the Eleventh PIEDRA '08 Architecture Awards, a promotional tool that serves the industry and seeks to highlight the strong links that exist between the PIEDRA exhibition and the worlds of architecture and building. The Awards Jury will be made up of architects as prestigious as Antonio Lamela (Chairman), Rafael de la Hoz, Antonio Jiménez Torrecilla (winner of the Architecture Award 2006), Marisol Pedrosa, Enrique León and Sergio de Miguel. The Jury for this edition of the Awards will also feature the Head of PIEDRA, María Valcarce, and the President of the Spanish Natural Stone Federation (FDP), José Marín.

Another of the activities organised within the framework of PIEDRA '08 that aims to promote natural stone will consist of the staging of the Second International Congress on Stone in Architecture, an event organised by IFEMA and the Spanish Natural Stone Federation (FDP), in collaboration with the Stone Association of the Madrid Region and the Official College of Architects of Madrid (COAM). This edition, which will take place on 9th May in the South Auditorium at FERIA DE MADRID, will feature a magisterial address by the architect, Rafael Moneo, who will endow the Congress with an international dimension due to the considerable prestige and renown that this master architect enjoys throughout the world. This meeting will provide a forum at which architecture professionals and companies from the industry can share experiences. In the same way as at its first edition, the Congress will boast the Honorary Presidency of H.R.H. the Prince of Asturias.

The fair will also host the presentation of an exhibition on contemporary architecture in Spain entitled "The Natural Seduction of Stone", organised by the Spanish Foreign Trade Institute (ICEX). This exhibition, which will focus on the themes of architecture and stone, will bring together a selection of projects carried out in Spain by fifteen Spanish architects of international renown, all of which involved the use of natural stone as the predominant means of expressing a new and modern architectural approach. José Rafael Moneo Arquitecto, RCR Arquitectes and Madrilejos & Osinaga Arquitectos are just three of the important studios that will be represented at the exhibition.

This initiative, organised by ICEX, which provides a perfect example of harmonious combinations of "Art and Nature" and "Avant-Garde and Traditional Approaches", will be presented for the first time in Madrid, after having been inaugurated last October in Verona.

The staging of PIEDRA '08 will coincide with that of VETECO, the most important monographic fair on windows and structural glass in the world, which will also attract the attention of architects, surveyors, decorators, manufacturers, builders and property developers. This double trade fair event will enable visitors to discover the latest aesthetic trends and technical solutions within the building industry and the field of architecture.

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