The UK stone market has grown more rapidly than anywhere else in Europe over the last decade. National statistics reveal that the level of imports into the UK between 2002 and 2009 almost doubled in value with the industry now worth £1.18 billion per annum at the consumer end.
All sectors of the market have shared in this growth, as the attractive and hard-wearing qualities of stone have received greater recognition as a means of adding both quality and value to a project.
Imports in particular have flourished, satisfying a growing demand for stone interiors in domestic and commercial properties, with the rise in popularity of granite worktops, limestone flooring and travertine-tiled bathrooms just a few examples of this established trend.
External use of stone has also increased significantly with major public landscaping projects taking advantage of the falling price of sandstone and granite from emerging economies and developers’ increasingly using stone for cladding and roofing new builds.
Private Residence Blanco Ibiza marble, Levantina
These developments are reflected at the Natural Stone Show where you can specify from an astounding selection of stone and tiles from more than 40 countries across the world, providing solutions for any ambience, mood or environment your project demands.
Never is this more apparent than at Antolini Luigi (Stand D1) one of the leading distributors of dimensional stone, where visitors can realise even their most precise requirements from over 1,000 different materials ranging from Black Velvet granite to ‘Rosso Verona’ marble.
Cremar (E6) - another stalwart from the Veronese stone industry - will also be able to fulfil your grand designs, offering a vast range of granites and marbles from both Italy and their joint ventures in India and Brazil. .
The south of Italy is represented by the hard-wearing and highly resistant Sicilian Lava stone (basalt) from Sicilgraniti (D40), whilst the pure white Lasa Bianco marble from the far north of Italy - so majestically worked in the monument to Queen Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace - will be promoted by Lasa Marmo (C1).
A range of exciting landscaping products will be available from Paoli Colombini’s Stones Company (G1) based at Civezzano, while Mode Mosaic & Design (P55) will showcase their artistic expertise through a range of high end marble and glass mosaics.
German competitors Solnhofen Stone Group (D20), Stiegler (D16) and Geiger (C36) will be presenting their Solnhofen and Jura lines. Jura limestone is an excellent cladding material synonymous with a number of award winning projects in the UK over recent years including Plantation Place, City of London.
Armani Hong Kong - Limestone supplied by La Pierre de France
French limestone will also feature prominently at the show with MB Stone International (C56) hosting a consortium of producers that can offer the entire range of Burgundy limestones from Beauvallon Dore to St Marc Clair. La Pierre de France (H60) with seven factories across France are major players in this segment of the market exporting their material to projects ranging from the Armani store, Hong Kong, to the Museum of Islamic art, Doha.
Spanish giants Levantina (F6) who own 63 of their own quarries will exhibit a range of their traditional stone materials including Crema Marfil and Marrón Emperador, as well as their new highly innovative porcelain line - Techlam.
Modern chic - Techlam Neu Levantina
Marmoles Tarragona (G45), another global player, present their versatile beige Cenia limestone used extensively for cladding projects and recently at Canary Wharf, London. Granite from Spain is also represented through Granilouro (P27)
Portuguese limestone is fashionable and well established now in the UK with the ever popular Moca Crema and Moleanos continuing to increase market share. Dimpomar (E10), MVC (C19), C.Mata Exports (P58) and Lusorochas (E15) will all be promoting their ranges providing excellent value for money for this premium flooring and cladding product.
Transgranitos (C9) also returns to the show promoting four types of Portuguese granite from their own quarries - Branco Coral, Branco Micaela, Pedras Salgadas and Amarelo Real.
As with the rest of the world, the emerging economies of Brazil, China, India and Turkey are playing an increasingly significant role in the UK stone industry, either by exclusive distribution agreements with UK companies or direct entrance to the UK market
Global Village (C29) will showcase a variety of Brazilian granites, marbles and slates supplied in slabs, tiles and dimension stones for projects. Among their more exotic materials are Amazon Green and Blue Night granite.
Cimstone(G30) from Turkey offer composite quartz elegance for interiors with a new range of finishes under the name of Cimstone Velvet boasting a velvet-like surface.
Chinese exhibitors are well represented in the CCPIT (H25-H40) and Minmetals pavilions (P68-P71) promoting everything from granite memorials and worktops to sandstone paving and slate tiles. Regular exhibitors Jetboat China (G50) and Xiamen Dayi Stone (G36) return to present their extensive selection of vanity-top, wall cladding and landscaping products.
Major sandstone, slate, granite and limestone paving projects can be realised by a number of Indian exhibitors at the show including Malbros (H16), Bathla Minerals (C39), Vijay Stone Quarries (D50), Rajasthan Stone Synidcate (G10) and SB Granites (E39).
The fine grained Indian Kota limestone can be sourced from Shree Ram Industries (D58) or La Madre International (P59) and architectural ornaments specified with N.S Granites & Marbles (H10).
All the black Indian granites so popular in the kitchen worktop market such as ‘Black Galaxy’ can be sampled at the show from exhibitors including Krishna Sai Granites (E20) and Jennex International (G46) - who also stock an exotics range that includes Amber Fantasy and Colonial Gold.
Soltani Quarry Complex (C25), a leading producer and exporter of natural stone from Iran will exhibit for the first time showcasing Pazeno Red travertine, Kezen Light Emperador marble and Takab Cream travertine produced from their own quarries.
A comprehensive range of Jerusalem stone (H6) will also be promoted from the Middle East.
Jerusalem Stone flooring
From Africa, Egyptian stone will continue to make inroads into the UK market with a variety of subtle beige and yellow marbles represented by ECO Egypt (H9) and Superior Marble (P57).
Finally, Afrika National Granite (P41) a major South African processor of granite blocks will display a selection of ‘black’ slabs from Angola, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
This completes our highlights from around the world.
For a full exhibitor list please click here.
European Parliament, Brussels - Pedras Salgadas granite supplied by Transgranitos
German sandstone used for Royal Bank of Scotland HQ, Edinburgh, Geiger Stone Group
German History Museum, Berlin - Magny Le Louvre limestone, La Pierre de France
Jura limestone used internally at Nina Tower, Hong Kong from the Solnhofen Stone Group
Kota Brown Limestone is slip safe and ideal for a swimming pool surround as supplied here by La Madre International
Private Residence Hampshire - Moca Creme limestone from Dimpomar combined with Sully Clair Rubanne stone
Granite flooring supplied by Afrika National granite
Vidraco Ataija Azul limestone, MVC
Ice blue granite worktop, Global village