All posts by tournesol

Expanding Central Park…

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IMG_6216Central Park Plaza in Valparaiso, IN, that is.

Central Park Plaza is the centerpiece of the revitalization of downtown Valparaiso. It was developed in 2011, with a significant expansion in July 2015.  We were pleased to be able to provide the pots, planters, and trellis for the recent expansion, designed by Shive Hattery of West Des Moines, IA.

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We provided the project with lightweight GFRC Wilshire Collection rounds (36″dia. and 60″ dia.), and Wilshire Screen GFRC rectangles (72″L x 18″W x 36″H). All the planters had to be movable so that the City could relocate them a throughout during the Summer for events held at the park.

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The Wilshire Screen planters needed to provide 12-feet of vertical screening to hide the utilities behind them. The decorative metal screening (see image below) was attached to two 4×6 Tournesol Siteworks VertiGreen trellis panels mounted in landscape orientation on specially engineered brackets. The brackets had to be designed to withstand significant wind loading. The Wilshire Screen planters also used Tournesol’s CWM Modular container irrigation system to make maintenance easy.
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Burbank Towers

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The Burbank Tower, located at 3900 West Alameda in Burbank, CA , rises over the busy entertainment hub along the Ventura Freeway with hundreds of media firms surrounded by Universal, Warner Bros. and Disney studios. Recently purchased by the Worthe Real Estate Group, the Tower has undergone a renovation “to appeal to people in the entertainment industry.”

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During the renovation process, Tourensol Siteworks was called in by OJB The Office of James Burnett to find out if our hanging Wilshire Box planters could be modified for their specific application. As seen above, we fabricated 5 different lengths of our 18″W x 24″H boxes (96″, 93″, 75″, 72″ and 60″), and painted them a custom color to match the building.  Each set of boxes (and there are typically 3 per set) were designed with  plumbed irrigation and drainage lines

The project was purchased and installed by Krismar Construction in March, and the photographs were just taken this month.

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The lightweight fiberglass box, pre-engineered brackets, and the easy-to-use mounting template have been designed for fast, simple installation by the contractor. Wilshire Boxes are used to contain plants on green facade projects, parking structures, and spandrel and parapet walls.

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Wilshire FRP fiberglass Boxes are available in 3 different size ranges, (10″W x 12″H, 12″W x 18″H, 18″W x 24″H). The simple styling works with most building types, and highlights the plants rather than the planter. The hanging brackets are powder coated with stainless mounting studs. The brackets tuck into the back of the box, so the planter can snug up next to the wall. It’s a system used in hundreds of installations nationwide, and one of the most commonly found systems on parking structures today.

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A Living Penthouse

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Some jobs just seem to take longer than others! In Jan. 2014, we were looking forward to being part of the renovation of Time Square’s Knickerbocker Hotel. It was in the process of being restored to its former glory, thanks to a $115 million makeover by new owners, FelCor Lodging Trust.

Architect Peter Poon and Designer Gabellini Sheppard took the interior down to the floor plates, so it is essentially a “brand new hotel”, except for its extraordinary, original Beaux-Arts facade, which was preserved. A NYC landmark since 1988, the building had functioned as an office building, but it is better known for hosting such guests as John D. Rockefeller, having its own subway entrance, and is thought to have been the birthplace of the original martini!

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The living wall, part of a design by landscape architect M. Paul Freidberg and Partners  of Manhattan, is finally complete! It is the highlight of an amazing Penthouse Suite, and features our VGM modular living wall system. Tournesol shipped over 500 of the 8″ deep VGM3-10 modules, which were installed on three of the exterior walls. Installation contractor  Blondies Treehouse  was responsible for the project installation. We’ve worked with them on a number of living walls in the NYC area.  Blondies was assisted with plant and soil design by Sempergreen and Moerings Green Roof Maintenance.

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The VGM were planted and installed early this year (a year after we anticipated), but have grown in through the summer and, according to Howard Freilich of Blondies. He commented that it was a tough installation, but that we can all be proud of the results.  Thanks, Howard – you make us look great!!

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Taking it on the Road – from our May email blast

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With the additions to cafe and casual furniture line and the enthusiasm for our Boulevard Wood products, our sales staff is being kept busy this month making sure that we are where you are!

HD Expo – A Hospitality Design Event
May 13-15, Las Vegas

To kick things off, John DenmanJon Willingham and Chris Lyon will be exhibiting at the HD Expo (Booth #1333) at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, May 13-15. We will be featuring theSouth Chair by our Australian Design partner, Luxxbox as well as our new Boulevard Wood plantershttp://www.hdexpo.com

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AIA Convention
​May 14-16, Atlanta
Regional Sales Representatives Brian Mitalo (Midwest/Southeast) and Cliff Goodman(Northeast/Mid-Atlantic) will be manning booth #838 at this year’s AIA Convention. It has been a few years since we attended this conference, but we are encouraged by the response to our ads in ArchRecord (we were on the short list for best ad award) and our outreach to the architecture community. http://convention.aia.org/event/homepage.aspx
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International Contemporary Furniture Fair
May 16 – 19, New York
Chris will be following up the HD Expo with a trip to New York for the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Jason Bird from Luxxboxx will be exhibiting at the Fair, showcasing his contemporary furniture line that we’ve begun carrying, like the South and Pillow Chairs.  http://www.icff.com
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ICSC RECon
​May 17 – 20, Las Vegas
We will wrap up the month back in Las Vegas, May 17-20 for the ICSC RECon Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. RECon is the global convention of the shopping center industry. Chris, John and Jon will be joined by David Shaw, the president of our partners at Street & Garden Furniture of Australia. We’re looking forward to introducing Street & Gardens’ newest product, the Yarrabilba Bench. We’ll be in booth #N1834 in the products section of the show. Be sure to stop by and see our products specifically targeting the Shopping Center community.
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A Designer’s Delight: Our New Cafe & Casual Furniture Category

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As we’ve been introducing site furnishings into our lineup, designers keep asking for more – more mobile, more fun, more casual!  We dipped our toe into the water last year with theBase Collection table and stools, but now that we’ve joined in partnership with Luxxbox of Brisbane, Australia, we’re diving in the deep end!

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In addition to the cool Buzz Bike Bench and the enigmatic Rune lounge, Luxxbox features a range of stools, tables, benches and casual furniture. Head designer Jason Bird creates using bright, fun colors in lightweight materials, engineered for commercial-grade use. Their product provides a whole new dimension to our range, giving us more solutions for rooftop spaces in any kind of installation.

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The South Chair (shown above) recently was a finalist for the NYC Battery Conservancy’s  “Draw up a Chair” competition.

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Brisbane’s design scene is on the upswing – Jason and Luxxbox were recently featured in a fantastic article in Travel & Leisure magazine. Read the entire article about the design scene down under here.

Boulevard decking at home…

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A recent trip so SoCal found us at the LA Expo in Long Beach, not far from one of our early installations of Boulevard Wood decking. It’s a private residence that belongs to friends of Grace Sullano of Place. The sustainability of Boulevard decking was a real draw for Grace and her friends.  Because we were close, we stopped by the owner’s home to find out whether we could take a few pictures of their home. While at first surprised to find us on their doorstep, the owners (and their children) graciously invited us in to see the results.

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Boulevard Wood decking is made thermally-modified, domestically harvested  and processed ash. It’s treated with high-temperature and steam – no chemicals or plastics – to create a 100% natural product with a 25+ year life span and Class A fire rating.  Through the process it takes on a natural, rich dark color, making it directly comparable with tropical hardwoods like Ipe or Teak, without the environmental baggage. The decking here has been sealed, so doesn’t show the typical gray patina that develops when exposed to the elements.

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Boulevard decking is 50% lighter and far easy to modify and work with on site than tropical hardwoods. All Boulevard wood is 100% free of the arsenic, copper, chrome and other hazardous metals present in pressure-treated wood.  It’s available in 1×4, 1×6, 5/4×4 and 5/4×6 conventional decking planks, as well as in dimensional lumber sizes.

Mobile upload from Jon Willingham at 31315, 311 PM

To see the full story of where our wood comes from, click here: http://tournesolsiteworks.com/wordpress/index.php/2015/01/where-boulevard-wood-starts/

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A Healing Garden

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Children’s Healing Garden 
Cleveland, OH
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The term healing gardens is most often applied to green spaces in healthcare facilities that specifically aim to improve health outcomes. These gardens provide a place of refuge and promote healing in patients, families, and staff. According to leaders in this field, healing comes from the garden’s ability to promote relief from symptoms, stress reduction and improvement in overall sense of well-being and hopefulness. Any environment can promote healing, but gardens are particularly able to do so because humans are hard-wired to find nature engrossing and soothing.
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This particular garden was spearheaded by architects Stanley Beaman and Sears of Atlanta. Regional Salesperson Brian Mitalo assisted them with the basic design, and they engaged local landscape architects Visionscape to help with the horticultural design. Steve Lukasik of Wolf Creek Company (a local irrigation design/distributor) helped design the irrigation plan. It was a full team effort – with a stunning result.
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A “Power” Play

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SCE (Southern California Edison) is the primary electricity supply company for much of Southern California. It provides 14 million people with electricity across a service territory of approximately 50,000 square miles. The SCE GO1 Headquarters Building in Rosemead, CA is not only a vastly important building, but after 43 years, one that was also in need of an update.

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The project encompassed a 1 acre podium renovation of landscape, hardscape and furnishings. Landscape architect Liz Greene of Richard Price and Associates Landscape Architecture  came to Tournesol Siteworks to assist with the project. They chose our Urban Collection, in both squares and rectangles, as the major focus of the courtyard remodel.

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According to Liz, ‘”the age of the building and size created some challenges. Working with such a large scale and a half-century year old infrastructure guided many of our design decisions.” The size options of the Urban Collection allowed for the planting of large olive trees which complimented the scale of the courtyard. The collection is produced in both lightweight fiberglass and GFRC concrete to accommodate the larger sizes. “Sleek, simple and elegantly proportioned” the Urban Collection also help set a more contemporary mood.

DSC_0700It is always exciting to see how pots and planters can revitalize an area and bring landscape to a hardscape environment.

The Final Few of our Favorite things… 2014

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The Rooftop garden at The Pennsylvania Bldg, 1275 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C. 

1275 Penn Ave--103114 1The owners of the property needed to hide some mechanical units on their roof. Architect Hickok Cole suggested our VGM green wall to create a decorative “screen.” Gregory Long of Capitol Greenroofs worked with James Davis Construction to create this 42′ x 8′ free standing vegetated wall that was built and grown in with vegetation designed to thrive in both the hot summers and cold DC winters.

• 1200 W Madison project, Chicago, IL •

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A brand new, high end apartment building in Chicago’s West Loop area was looking to go upscale with their roof top amenity space. Otherwise knows as the Rotunda, this space greatly benefited from our large Wilshire Rounds as a way in which to “green” this most definitely urban environment. Our thanks to Site Design Group in Chicago and Intrinsic Landscape for including us in this project.

• The Village at Chandler Fashion Center, Chandler, AZ

If you’ve seen our recent ads, you know that this installation is truly one of our favorites. Not only a showstopper due to the great colors, but also a showcase of how pots can add life and landscape to any hardscape. Mike Faulkner, of SmithGroupJJR, took on this project to revitalize the underperforming outdoor courtyard space. “Designing in raised planters and usage of the huge Tournesol Downtown collection pots allowed us to add landscape, shade and a modern look and feel without disruption to the facility. The pots were a great way to add landscape to any space that would typically require tearing out and replacing hardscape.”

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 • And, Celebrating 20! •

The year wouldn’t be complete without recognizing, once again, that April brought us to the 20th anniversary of Tournesol Siteworks and the 35th anniversary of our predecessor, Planter Technology.

From our President…  I am delighted that I found myself in this business. We enhance the public good. We work at the intersection of landscape and architecture, making green possible for buildings and urban settings. We can be satisfied that we soften the constructed environment, and bring a piece of nature to city dwellers. I never have to apologize for the products we manufacture, or their effect on the environment.

I’ve really enjoyed the many people who’ve shared in the experience of growing this company. My greatest challenge is continuing to offer them an environment where they can make the most of their talents, and earn a good living while doing it. When I think back over 20 years, i recognize the impact they have made on this business, and it wouldn’t be the same without them. Thank you to them and to our customers.

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Favorite Things

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The year wouldn’t be complete without a list of “a few of our favorite things….” from 2014.

• This past March the Disney Corp. and Starbuck’s opened their first location in Downtown Disney and wanted something unique at the location. Architects Orange and LandStudio 360 with David Ling, were tasked to bring a unique element to this specific Starbucks store. Tournesol Siteworks was thrilled to be a player in this high profile installation as our VGM system was the perfect solution.

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• This year also brought a lot of buzz to our Boulevard Wood line. Originally developed for  bench and table site furnishings, Boulevard wood is now available in tiles and decking. In addition to a 25+ year lifespan, 2014 brought it a Class A flame spread rating. It possesses all the performance advantages of ipe and other South American hardwoods, but none of the environmental baggage. We’re especially pleased to be one of the few domestic producers of thermally modified products, keeping production jobs in the U.S.

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• We also took a lot of “look backs” this year to see how our products stand the test of time. While most of our installations exceeded our high expectations, this stood out as one of our favorites – three years laterThe Center for Early Education in West Hollywood, CA.

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Thanks to a great maintenance team at Instant Jungle the VGM wall looks even better today than when first installed! Landscape Architects, Rios Clementi Hale Studios.

And, a personal favorite from your blogger, the first installation of our new Harlie Collection planters. This planter comes to us by way of our collaboration with Australian designer,  Luxxbox . The faceted shape draws on gemology and mathematical principles with a playful edge. Can’t wait to see it in more installations in 2015 in a variety of eye-catching colors.

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