(May 2009) Going for gold, as could be seen and heard at festive opening ceremony of the 15. Marble fair in Izmir. „We are aiming for first place among the stone fairs“ declared the mayor of Turkey’s 3-Million-City-Centre at the Mediterranean coast. He added that „the fair could count on further municipal support in pursuing its goal“.
Zeynep Aslı Acar in charge of international queries at the fair, later explained what that implies: „Since there is no longer any room for growth at our present venue in the city centre, we will be moving to a new site five minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from our present location. “
The coming fair, to be held from March 24th to 27th 2010, will see the exhibit area, presently measuring 42,500 m² expand to 330,000 m². In its final state, 4 years hence, the fair will include an area of 600,000 m², a hotel and conference centre, Ms. Acar explained.
The race is on to dethrone Verona’s Marmomacc from its position as internationally leading stone fair. The road to victory is paved not only with a greater area but also with a conference to discuss important, trend-setting themes, following the American lead of the Coverings, according to Ms. Acar.
This year’s numbers of Marble Izmir are: 51,560 visitors and 1112 exhibitors (2008: 1097) of which 258 came from abroad, 42,500 m² exhibit area. In comparison, the Marmomacc last October welcomed 63,000 visitors, and 1536 exhibitors of which 690 came from abroad, and took in an area of 77,000 m²; the Xiamen fair held at the beginning of 2009 enjoyed 86.713 visitors and 1,211 exhibitors in an area of 90,000 m² (statistics of the fair’s organizers).
It is already obvious that the Izmir fair has its own profile: Turkey is home to the world’s mosaic experts. Long passed are the times of world leading miniscule stone setting work already famous in antique Smyrna, forerunner of Izmir.
The buzzword is pixelmosaic, exemplified by the Bayyurt Company, as presented in a separate article in this issue of BusinessStone.com, and strap mosaic, of which a few examples can be seen below. Turkey probably also counts to the international forerunners in stone inlay.