The 5th edition of the Middle East Stone - the Middle East and North Africa’s premier event for natural stone, marble, granite, design and technology - opened today at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Shedding light on natural stone and sustainability trends through a variety of educational talks and thousands of products and services on display, Middle East Stone will run until 28 November and is expected to welcome more than 350 exhibitors from across the globe.
Middle East Stone returns against the backdrop of over US$ 3.7 trillion planned and un-awarded projects in the MENA region. Upcoming developments like the US$ 10 billion Red Sea Tourism Project in Saudi Arabia, or the multi-billion Dubai Harbour and EMAAR Beachfront mixed-use developments in the UAE, are just some examples of the massive opportunities the region currently offers to local and international stone players.
Vice President - Construction at dmg events, Josine Heijmans, said:
“The high volume of urban construction activities in the region are driving the exponential demand for natural stone, tiles, marble, granite and ceramic products. The buoyancy of the market is especially evident today as Middle East Stone brings together thousands of regional decision-makers to meet with local and international suppliers providing the full range of products and solutions from the stone, marble and granite world for interior designers, interior and landscape architects, façade consultants, fit-out contractors, real estate developers, installers and distributors, among others.”
Exhibitors from country pavilions including Brazil, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Egypt were out in force showcasing flooring, facade, landscaping and fit-out solutions involving the finest natural stone, marble, as well as installation and maintenance solutions from around the world.
Flavio Marabelli, Honorary President, Institutional Relations of Confindustria Marmomacchine from the Italian Pavilion, said:
“In 2017, the UAE market was once again one of the main destinations for Italian finished products in marble, granite and other ornamental stones, with deals worth more than 44 million euros. The UAE took sixth place in absolute among sector buyers and it was the second non-European buyer after the United States highlighting the country’s attractiveness as a market for stone products Made in Italy.”
The inaugural CPD-certified Stone Design Seminars began this morning with a high-level panel discussion on designing the future with a look at demand drivers, changing design trends in urban living, and the use of lighting in creating ambience in indoor and outdoor environments. The National Stone Institute (NSI) also delivered a masterclass on best practices and techniques in stone exterior wall cladding presented by stone master Charles Muehlbauer, who is the NSI Technical Director.
One of the major topics of discussion at today’s Summit was the benefit of natural stone as a building material in sustainable architecture. Lee Nellis, Managing Partner, XBD Architecture, said:
“Natural stone does not require any other materials to make it, and can be reused for many different purposes throughout its lifetime. However, it needs to be ‘recycled’ and change its use if it is to be considered sustainable. Advances in technology have helped stone become sustainable in recent years, but the education of the end-user is vital so that people respect finite natural resources.”
[Read more: SPEAKER INTERVIEW: LEE NELLIS]
The four-day Stone Design Seminars will continue tomorrow with discussions on ASTM standards & stone testing for projects, how public art is part of a rising movement of place-making in the Middle East, as well as case studies on deconstructing stone and creating experiences for communities.
Organised by dmg events, Middle East Stone runs alongside The Big 5 – the Middle East’s and Africas largest construction event - and is co-located with the HVACR Expo, The Big 5 Solar, Middle East Concrete, Urban Design & Landscape Expo and The Big 5 Heavy.
The event is supported by the Natural Stone Institute, Associazione Italiana Marmomacchine, Enterprise Greece, Brasil Original Stones, and the Brazilian Association of the Dimension Stone Industry.
To know more, visit www.middleeaststone.com.