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Trade Fairs: Poland’s stone branch goes professional

Award-winning National museum in the city of Przemyl. It bears a ventilated façade of Travertine Romano Classico.(December 2009) This year’s Kamien-Stone Fair, which took place in the industrial city of Poznan, was worth a visit. It was a premiere consolidating with the traditional Wroclaw trade show, which had been strongly improvised in the past.

Albeit the fair was not overrun: during the course of the four day exhibition beginning of November, only 8000 visitors saw 300 exhibitors from 20 countries in an area measuring some 15,000 m², according to the fair organizers. In fact, the halls were nearly empty on opening day. Nevertheless, the fair grounds situated right next to the train station, withstood the test: facilities were modern and professional.

Exhibitors were mainly machine and tool retailers for stone masonry from Italy, Germany and China. Companies from Spain, France, Scandinavia, India and South Africa were also represented. Interesting to note that among the natural stone on show, many types were high end, exclusive and expensive – the branch obviously considers the Polish market as promising consumers for interior construction.

Many an exporter probably views the country as a gateway to Eastern Europe or as a mid-way warehouse en route to Germany or Scandinavia. Suppliers from India have already set up tombstone depots as the Polish graveyard culture is unique. See our analysis in the June-2008-issue.

The peripheral programme, organized by the two trade publications of the branch, was remarkable for the size of this fair, simultaneously setting an accent of their own: Nowy Kamieniarz presented the development of marketing and advertising in the Italian and French stone branch over the past 40 years.

Swiat Kamienia presented this year’s winners of the Stone-in-Architecture-Awards in Poland. Let us expound on a project, giving some insight in the difficult and strained relation between Poland and Germany in decades past: Wroclaw in Silesia had been formerly German, but became Polish territory after the end of WW II. Remember: the War, which claimed 60 million lives, began with Germany’s invasion of Poland. After the end of the war, the graveyard, resting place of Germans, Poles and members of many other nations, was destroyed and gravestones were used elsewhere. The award-winning „Monument of Common Remembrance“ was erected in place of the old graveyard and is comprised of a 60 m long, 4 m high granite wall, into which some of the old gravestones were integrated. The monument was conceived by Tomasz Tomszewski, Louis Gryta and Czeslaw Wesolowski. The stone was supplied by Piramida near the city of Strzegom.

The next Kamien-Stone is scheduled to take place from November 10th to 13th 2010. The name, by the way, is a Double whopper: „Kamien“ is Polish for stone. That was the name of the predecessor in Wroclaw.

Photos: Swiat Kamienia