Catalans in Leipzig - Europe's Leading Trade Fair for Conservation Restoration and Old Building Renovation- Denkmal
From 6 to 8 November 2014 it took place in Leipzig "Denkmal" the Europe's Trade Fair for Conservation Restoration and Old Building Renovation, one of the busiest and most traditional fairs in northern Europe, that achieved this year its 11th edition. In addition to numerous German stands and a strong presence of Norheast European countries, the Fair also featured Catalan presence. Despite the rail strike affecting the whole of Germany, about thirteen thousand visitors came to the fair.
Denkmal is the sectors’ leading fair about restoration held in Northern Europe. One of its peculiarities is its mainstreaming: From both institutions and governments that promote and preserve the heritage to the industrial and business community working in this sector assist to the fair. Thus, this year the fair had the presence of the Ministries of Culture of countries such as Russia; representatives of the governments of the Lands as Berlin, Brandenburg and Hessen, and sections of local governments that manage the assets of large cities such as the city of Leipzig, St. Petersburg and Barcelona. Also they are attending European universities where different disciplines related to heritage are taught, exposing its Masters Programs and other education that they provide. It is also important to note that Leipzig is a city with a great academic and scientific movement.
In terms of the industry sector presence, the Fair had exhibitors from various sustainable construction products applied to existing buildings, which combined traditional materials like mud-brick with new technologies as the underfloor heating. The fair also had the presence of different restorer associations and friends of heritage, and a strong presence of products for application in the restoration field as paintings, treatments and coatings, making clear which was theme of the fair this year : “Historic facades: stucco, plaster, paint.
As for crafts, It was noticeable the presence of the Guild of Traditional German Carpenters. I discovered that they maintain the tradition of, once their training is finished, trip around the world during two years working for other carpenters, that host them and teach their techniques in exchange of
their help with their own assignments. These carpenters are well known for taking care of the large wood roof trusses of historic german buildings, and in Denkmal they attracted the attention thanks to their traditional dresses, sepecially their black corduroy vest with big white buttons and their original hats.
The large cities that had presence at the fair acted as an umbrella for other institutions and companies. This was the model of the Berlin’s stand and, in a more modest way, we also did thanks to the Barcelona Observatory for Architectural Restoration (OBRA), which the Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya is one of its member. This management model has made possible the presence various Catalan organizations in the Fair, including Habitat Urbà, COAC, CAATEEB, UPC and AADIPA.
The Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya was presenting several proposals, like different architecture works that participated in the Mostres d’Arquitectura de Barcelona architecture prize, the rehabilitation project of the facade of its headquarters in Barcelona, the Sert School studies programmes, the Correspondents’ Network and the European AADIPA Award of Intervention in the Architectural Heritage.
"Better with architects"
We had special complicity with one of the most active institutional stands, the Association of Architects of Saxony (www.aksachsen.org), which, with numerous panels and lectures, divulged and defended the figure of the architect with the slogan "Besser mit Architekten "-" Better with architects, which reminded us of our “Sí a l’arquitectura”-“Yes to Architecture”.
Guida Maymó, architect
COAC correspondent in Hamburg, Germany.