Barcelona’s International Construction Show ‘Construmat’ starts amid sector slow recovery
The 19th edition of Barcelona’s International Building & Construction Show opened its doors on Tuesday, rebranded as 'Beyond Building Barcelona-Construmat'. The event – which is held every two years – will be on until Saturday 23 May, hosting around 300 exhibitors from 15 different countries. For the first time after 7 years of continuous decline for the construction sector, Construmat – the most important trade fair for this industry in Spain – kicks off at a time of gradual recovery for this sector, according to the figures of the last few months. For Josep Miarnau, Chairman of the show, this year represents a turning point and the end of a cycle. Held in the Gran Via venue of Fira de Barcelona, the show is organised around 4 main thematic pillars: Innovation, Design, Renovation and Sustainability. Moreover, internationalisation will play an important role as well, with 145 projects from all over the world at the tendering stage.
Barcelona (ACN).- The 19th edition of Barcelona’s International Building & Construction Show opened its doors on Tuesday, rebranded as 'Beyond Building Barcelona-Construmat'. The event – which is held every two years – will be on until Saturday May 23, hosting around 300 exhibitors from 15 different countries. For the first time after 7 years of continuous decline for the construction sector, Construmat – the most important trade fair for this industry in Spain – kicks off at a time of gradual recovery for this sector, according to the figures of the last few months. For Josep Miarnau, Chairman of the show, this year represents a turning point and the end of a cycle. Held in the Gran Via venue of Fira de Barcelona, the show is organised around 4 main thematic pillars: Innovation, Design, Renovation and Sustainability. Moreover, internationalisation will play an important role as well, with 145 projects from all over the world at the tendering stage.
A trade fair as well as a conference
The area dedicated to innovation hosts a symposium and a round table where pioneer architects and designers will discuss future technologies and innovation in construction. The symposium will take place on Saturday 23 May, with each speaker presenting their innovative work and ideas in short sessions. Among other themes, 4D printing, digital fabrication, self-sufficient buildings and distributed manufacturing will be discussed during this event. The round table aims to explore the contemporary debate revolving around local and/or global visions of innovation in the construction sector, thanks to the inputs of high-profile researchers and professionals operating mostly in Spain.
A series of educational workshops open for all professionals and students will also be hosted, on topics such as: wearable technology, the internet of things, digital fabrication, robotic construction technology and aerial robotics. Workshops have different durations, ranging from 1 to 5 days. One of them is on WikiHouse, an open-source project for designing and building houses which aims to democratise and simplify the construction of sustainable, resource-light dwellings. One of its founders – Alastair Parvin – will also be speaking at the symposium. According to its creators, "WikiHouse […] makes it simple for everyone to design, print and assemble beautiful, low-energy homes, customised to their needs".
"The construction industry is going through a phase of transition"
According to Tomàs Diez – curator of the area dedicated to innovation – the whole of society in general and the construction industry in particular are experiencing a moment of 'transition'. "From an industrial model based on mass consumerism and high centralisation of operations, we are going towards one based on distributed and cross-sectional production, where individuals are fully involved in the manufacturing process", he said. "3D printers are already a reality in many industrial sectors", Diez added. "In the case of the construction industry, they are used, for example, to build customised columns" and are "an intelligent way to allow people to participate in the design of their own homes", he concluded.
Diez also remarked that industrialisation delocalised production processes thousands of kilometres away while the digital world has the potential to bring it closer again. According to Josep Miarnau, "many of the innovations presented in this area of the show are not far from becoming reality, at least in the medium-term".
The Design area is conceived for companies and young designers and architects
The Design area represents a new exhibition, structured around a showroom, which recreates different living spaces such as a hotel room, an office or the rooms of a house. These spaces are built using the most innovative products and materials supplied by the exhibitors taking part in this area. The Design area is conceived for companies that supply products, materials, finishes, lighting, fabrics, furniture, decoration and smart systems. It is also aimed at young designers, interior decorators and architects. In this area, a travelling exhibition is hosted as well, marking the 10th anniversary of the Ceramics Chair of the School of Architecture of the International University of Catalonia (ESARQ-UIC).
The Renovation area is a trade show space
The Renovation area is a trade show where institutions, companies, artisans and professionals from every sphere of building renovation get together. In particular, integral building renovation, energy rehabilitation, maintenance of public buildings and spaces and promotion of urban rehabilitation are some of the sub-fields involved. This area is open not only to trade professionals but also to end consumers (property administrators, residents' associations and individual property owners) to help them find technical advice, professional solutions and sources of finance in both the public and private sectors.
The Sustainability area features local, national and international sections
The focus of the area dedicated to sustainability revolves around a central question: how to reduce the environmental impact of the sector and buildings' energy consumption. Divided up into 3 levels (local, national and international), this part of the show hosts exhibitions and debates. In the section dedicated to Catalonia, for example, the exhibition area will feature projects being undertaken by Barcelona City Council or developed by Catalan universities such as: the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and its schools in Barcelona (ETSAB) and El Vallès (ETSAV); the school of architecture of the International University of Catalonia (ESARQ); the school of architecture of Ramón Llull University (La Salle); and the Institute of Advanced Architecture (IAAC). Among the themes of the debates will be: eco-design, bio-construction with hay bales and waste management in urban contexts.
150 building projects confirmed at the tendering stage looking for suppliers
Another interesting initiative of this edition of the show is the Contract Forum where Spanish and European exhibitors network with builders, architects and developers. For this 19th edition, the Contract Forum has 150 international projects (from countries such as Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Tunisia, Algeria and Qatar) and 50 domestic ones at the tendering stage, looking for materials and technical solutions to carry them out. The aim of this area is to allow Spanish companies to come into contact with large construction projects underway in different countries.
A Job Market Fair organised by Barcelona Activa (the executive tool of the Economic Development policies of the Barcelona City Council) is also on at the moment, for those who are currently looking for a job in the construction sector.