The Carrefour International Timber Show this year broadens its perspective and debuts a special section focused on semi-processed and manufactured products for the construction sector.

The exhibition, which takes place at the Parc La Beaujoire in Nantes, France, from May 31 to June 2 developed as a showcase for the French domestic and importing raw timber and sawn lumber sectors, but has gradually developed to encompass a wide range of products further down the processing chain and to appeal to the international market.

Now this evolution has gone further, with a dedicated section for “Timber Techniques and Solutions”.

“The new area will be devoted entirely to semi-processed timber products designed for structural work, wall panels, interior and exterior fittings,” said trade show manager Cecile Touret.

“Markets evolve and so do products,” added Nicolas Visier, director of show co-organiser Atlanbois. “The wood construction sector is growing rapidly, but the solutions available using timber as a material are still little known and underdeveloped. This is why we are featuring the Timber Techniques and Solutions area. Visitors, whether they are architects or other specifiers, carpenters, joiners or building professionals, will discover what timber structural solutions exist and the latest innovations.”

Carrefour’s new departure has proved to be a popular move, with all 50 stands in the Techniques and Solutions area rapidly taken.

Visitors to this part of the show are also expected to include furniture makers and component manufacturers and the organisers believe the products will additionally appeal to buyers for the major retail and DIY businesses.

Complementing the stands will be a series of technical seminars and presentations. Topics covered will include hardwood and softwood cladding, timber-fuelled energy systems, external use of plywood, social timber housing, energy performance of timber buildings, the use of solid timber in modern architecture and engineered timber products.

On the evening of Thursday June 1, there will also be a special evening presentation “Architecture, Timber and Sustainability”, with speakers including French and Swedish architects and engineers. The American Hardwood Export Council is among the event’s backers.

The main Carrefour exhibition has also developed and grown, with a total of 464 companies from 26 countries having confirmed stand bookings a month before the event. This adds up to a 15% increase in stand area on the previous show. Visitors from 67 countries had pre-registered to attend and the organisers said they were confident that total attendance would exceed the 9,000 recorded in 2004. And overseas visitors, who made up around 22% at the last show, are once more forecast to represent a sizeable proportion of the total.

The UK is expected again to provide the fourth biggest overseas visitor contingent after Belgium, Spain and Italy. To boost numbers, the organisers have undertaken a marketing drive here, liaising with The Timber Trade Federation and contacting 70 importers direct.

Exhibitors cover the spectrum from timber importers, distributors and sawmillers, to panel products and flooring manufacturers, engineered wood product and joinery producers, timber frame specialists, treatment and adhesive suppliers, promotional, research and industry organisations. Kilning and handling equipment will also be on show.

The exhibition will also feature a ‘congress’ organised by the French Academy of Wood Science and Technology, with seminars and discussions under the broad theme “globalisation and international exchange: the new opportunities for timber”. The presentations will include “The opportunities of the Chinese market”, by Jan Söderlind, managing director of the Nordic Timber Council; “The panel industry in Europe”, by Ladislau Döry, president of the European Panel Federation; and “Promotion of timber in Europe”, by Roberto Tengg of the Italian Timber Traders Federation.

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