Category Archives: Company News

Past Blast: Tacoma’s Dome District Benches & Bollards

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Since our acquisition of FairWeather Site Furnishings, (facility located in WA,  which is now our base for metal and wood fabrication) we’ve enjoyed sharing the stories of projects and installations. A few years ago, the City of Tacoma, WA, wanted to improve the amenities in the various city districts, including the Dome District. The Dome District in Tacoma emerged in the 1880’s but was originally known as the East School neighborhood due to a large elementary school. Railroad access eventually transformed the district bringing transportation, cars, gas stations, shops and restaurants. Renamed a few times, “Dome District” stuck when the Tacoma Dome was eventually built.

The dome brought life to the district and many older buildings were revitalized, namely Freighthouse Square. For the Dome District revitalization project, the City of Tacoma wanted benches and receptacles installed along sidewalks and building fronts throughout the district, including in front of Freighthouse Square. 

FairWeather was specified by the City of Tacoma desiring the Tradition Collection benches; Victorian-style benches with refined, full contour seat sections made with Ipe wood (optional) and enhanced by the circular details of the ductile cast iron end frames (shown above). Ipe is a hardwood that works well for exterior use and was useful for this project, since the weather in the Pacific Northwest tends to be fairly wet year-round. The city also wanted three Plaza Collection Steel Strap Receptacles, which are manufactured with open tops, and rings at the top and bottom of the receptacles. Tacoma chose domed tops to finish off the look of the Plaza receptacles which included 35 gallon black Polyethylene Liners.

Later, the City of Tacoma specified our B-5 Bollards which were installed by Gary Merlino Construction Company. Our steel B-5 Bollard Collection features decorative steel bollards with an asymmetrical top and collars for a sharp, distinctive look (shown in the image above).

Of the three mounting configurations available (removable, permanent embed or surface mount) Merlino Contstruction installed the steel B-5 Bollards with a concrete fill cap and heavy schedule 80 steel pipe as permanent embed. The bollards are used for security purposes and force protection on various streets and in front of the dome (shown above).

 

Wilshire Planters Atop Lofts at River East

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In the July/August 2017 issue of Retrofit Magazine, Tournesol Siteworks‘ product was featured in an editorial regarding a large project in Chicago, and we were thrilled! The article written by KJ Fields, titled “Lofty Gathering Spot” (pages 72-77), pertains to Lofts at River East: a roof deck offering the apartment dwellers a restful spot for entertainment, social gatherings and relaxation.

‘Chicago is a very industrial city, so it’s helpful
to have outdoor spaces where people can
gather,’ remarks Hana Ishikawa, design principal
at Chicago’s site design group ltd., the firm
that performed The Lofts at River East’s rooftop
landscape architecture. ‘Roof decks on apartment
buildings are very popular in Chicago and
they’re becoming increasingly elaborate. This
renovation has beautiful loft units and it really
needed a nice roof deck to complement them.’

Architects from Chicago firms Fitzgerald Associates Architects and Ghafari Associates collaborated with Landscape Architect, Yuki Takeshima, with Site Design to create the 10,000 sq. ft. amenity space atop the roof deck. The building owner requested many stipulations, desiring to make the deck luxurious and inviting. The landscape architect faced many challenges designing the space. The roof top holds a varying range of grade changes due to the building’s main duct-work and air-handling units being on the roof. The environment had to span over the mechanical and electrical units. Site used the levels to their advantage by creating outdoor “rooms” using landscape and plants for division so the separations did not feel forced.

Wilshire planters at Lofts at River East, Photo by Scott Shigley

In one of these “rooms,” site specified our Wilshire Collection planters  with matching container irrigation.  From Glenview, IL, Intrinsic Landscaping Inc. installed the planters, manufactured from FRP Fiberglass material in our smooth T-0 texture (shown in the image above). They chose MMP Aluminum for the planters’ color; the MMP color mimics the look of our more expensive metal-infused pots, yet the MMP painted colors won’t change over time, unlike the real metals. This continuous color provides predictability for commercial applications.

The Lofts at River East is fabulous and enjoyed by tenants, their friends and families. One last quote from the article  states,

Although the generous views to the
water and Chicago skyline are expansive,
the designers kept the scale human with
the outdoor rooms, diverse-sized furniture
groupings and plant selections.

Florence Collection Gets First Place!

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It’s always inspiring when our products get noticed, especially when we’re on the winning team! Last month, I-Plants Urban Horticulture Magazine sponsored the 2017 International Design Contest. Johnson Fediw Associates is the publisher of I-Plants Urban Horticulture Magazine.

The 2017 Entries were judged by a panel of experts in landscaping, horticulture and design.  Per I-Plants Magazine, the “entries were judged on the uniqueness and innovation of their design; innovative use of materials; appropriateness for the space; and satisfaction of the client.”

‘This project is unique for its design. This team really thought outside the box to bring their client and their visitors something truly special,’ says Kathy Fediw, LEED AP ID+C, CLP, CLT, publisher of I-Plants Magazine. ‘This innovative project is an inspiration to others in the design industry and really showcases what can be done.’

Florence Collection Planters outside The Standard Club

Juli, from Juli Ordower Landscape Architecture, and Joanne Greene, from On the Ledge Landscaping in Chicago, IL, won the First Place Award in the Free Standing Containers category. The winning project is located at The Standard Club  hotel in Chicago. The article in I-Plants Magazine states,

The Standard Club is a private club in the historic South Loop neighborhood of Chicago. It was established in 1869 and its mission is to create a membership of leaders who share a common bond of charitable, social and civic responsibility. On the Ledge approached management about adding additional seasonal containers at the main entrance to enhance the outdoor landscape of the club in keeping with the luxuriant detailing on the inside. The two existing containers did not provide enough of an impact to showcase this iconic building with its stately limestone façade.

Florence Collection Planters at the entrance of The Standard Club

On the Ledge chose 5 of Tournesol SiteworksFlorence Collection planters to adorn the entrance to the hotel and along the length of the building. The rectangular Florence planters sized 72”L x 24”W x 24”H, were manufactured in Lightweight GFRC Concrete.

…5 containers were specified to activate the entry and make it more attractive to members and potential newcomers. The repeating bays of the façade lent themselves to a symmetrical design where the long rectangular planters sit in the middle of each bay. The tall arborvitae shrubs help to give some scale to the massive bays and the annual flowers bring in a pop of color and cascade over the side. It is a very classic design to match the historic nature of the building.

Florence Collection Planters outside The Standard Club

Given the classical design of the building, the planters needed to fit in without clashing. We were able to match the color and texture of the façade with the natural sand finish and chaparral brown color. The other unique piece to this design is that the building spans almost the whole block so we had a very generous amount of space to work with. We were able to specify 6’ long planters that could support 3 arborvitae shrubs in each planter for a balanced, symmetrical design.

This design has been well received by guests of The Standard Club and has made a difference in the neighborhood, as other businesses have begun to follow suit.  Big congratulations to Joanne Green and Juli Ordower for this wonderful project and for the honored First Place Award, well-deserved!

Second Look – New Orleans Botanical Garden Living Walls

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Photos courtesy of Luis Andrade, Ewing

If you read our blog occasionally, you know that we like to go back and look at projects some time after they are installed. We believe that a project is more than just the pretty picture taken immediately after install, but also how the products withstand the weather, planting and maintenance. Back in October, Tournesol Siteworks exhibited at the ASLA ’16 in New Orleans, LA, and while there, we stopped to visit a project we participated in to view the final installation of our products.

New Orleans Botanical Garden, Arrival Entrance and Event Court; photo courtesy of Luis Andrade, Ewing

Eight months later, our partners at Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply went back this week to view the project at the New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park. Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects, from Baton Rouge, specified our VGM Modular Living Wall as the arrival to the garden entrance. City Park has been undergoing renovations this past year and the green wall is proudly placed at the new Arrival Garden and Event Court.

Photo courtesy of Luis Andrade, Ewing

Our partners at Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply collaborated with Rotolo Consultants Inc. who installed the beautiful living wall. The full VGM green wall is 1,000 square feet and is a vertical, lush garden presentation which introduces the park entrance to garden visitors.

Photo courtesy of Luis Andrade, Ewing

The Botanical Garden living wall utilizes over 300 VGM3 planting modules. Each module is made from 100% recycled plastic, attached to stainless steel rails mounted to a wall or structure. After the modules are grown in (as shown above), they provide instant, complete coverage on any vertical surface. With the VGM System, root growth isn’t limited by restricting cells or baffles so, in turn, plants grow healthier and stronger.

Photo courtesy of Luis Andrade, Ewing

We are thrilled that the Botanical Garden living walls are thriving and growing abundantly. The visitors and guests can enjoy this lush garden and beautiful fountain with each visit.

Transbay Transit Center – VersiCell in SF’s Upcoming Park

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We were thrilled to see the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle Newspaper on April 12 (online April 11), featuring the Transbay Transit Center currently being built in busy downtown San Francisco. The Transbay Transit Center is more than just a rooftop park, it will be a huge city park at 5.4 acres and a quarter of a mile long, within one of the busiest city sections on the West Coast.

Tournesol Siteworks is thoroughly involved in this high profile project, as 192, 000 sq. ft  our VersiCell sub-surface drainage panels were specified by PWP Landscape Architecture. In the SF Chronicle article titled “Transbay Transit Center rooftop turning into 5.4-acre City Park,” writer J.K. Dineen states,

The Transbay Transit Center is set to open late this year and will serve numerous bus lines, including AC Transit, Muni, Golden Gate Transit and Greyhound. It’s still unknown when it might connect to high-speed rail or Caltrain, which will operate the station, how much it will cost to operate, or what shops and restaurants will occupy the 100,000 square feet of retail space.

…But what is known is this: Tree by tree, San Francisco’s next significant public open space, a 5.4-acre green rooftop boxed in by towers of glass, is taking shape atop the transit center. And amid all the questions about the future of the transit center, it is the park — with its carefully curated collection of flora — that has the potential to make the project an attraction in the years before the trains arrive.

Our Versicell drainage panels were installed by contractors from McGuire and Hester out of Alameda, CA, just across the bay from San Francisco. VersiCell is a sub-surface drainage panel that provides the ultimate combination of strength and water flow capacity. The modular, connectable panels are frequently used in a variety of installations where fast, high-volume water flow is critical. In addition to sub-surface drainage, VersiCell is frequently used in place of heavy gravel aggregates for waterproofing membrane protection, for heat and sound insulation on structures, as a drainage channel, and on subterranean walls to prevent hydrostatic pressure buildup.

To read the entire SF Chronicle, Transbay Transit Center article, please click here. It is exciting to know that our VersiCell is highly inert, and won’t break down or crush over the life of this application, and that we are part of a project that will be enjoyed by people for decades.

 

 

 

Custom Metal Designs – Percival Landing Park

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In January 2017, Tournesol Siteworks acquired FairWeather Site Furnishings, with a facility located in Port Orchard, WA. With the acquisition comes new products and installations from across the country that Tournesol can now provide. The Washington facility will be our base for metal and wood fabrication. As we’re getting to know FairWeather, we’re enjoying and sharing the stories of projects and installations.

Percival Landing table and chairs with custom branded design

The City of Olympia Parks and Recreation Department, in Olympia, Washington, undertook a revitalization project to Percival Landing Park. Percival Landing is one of three waterfront parks, located on the southern-most tip of Puget Sound. The park is a wonderful community meeting place for social interactions and celebrations, with a playground and boardwalk along the shoreline.

Per the City of Olympia’s website:

“Percival Landing Park was named after the old commercial steamship wharf, a well-known maritime landmark in the Pacific Northwest. The original dock, built by Sam Percival in 1860, was operated by the Percival Family. The first phase of Percival Landing, as we know it today, was completed and opened in 1978, phase two in 1985, and phase three in 1988.”

Kip Summers, Project Engineer for the City of Olympia Parks & Rec Dept., wanted to make products specifically for the Percival Landing project. Kip collaborated with FairWeather engineers to customize the Terrace Cafe’ Collection tables and chairs with “Percival Landing” laser cut into the table tops and the chair seats (shown below). The laser cut metal option is a wonderful addition to Tournesol Siteworks’ product lines, including memorial plaques, logos for decoration and customized additions.

Laser cut design

Many Terrace collection benches were installed in the playground area of Percival Landing, yet were specifically customized. The city project engineers wanted to ensure playground safety so the lengths of the benches legs were extended and mounted to the subsurface ten inches beneath the playground safety surface.

The community of Olympia enjoys the waterfront park’s restoration and were thrilled to maintain its historical significance. Percival Landing brings a peaceful environment that is welcoming and restful.

Taking care of (someone else’s) business…

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One of the most important things that Tournesol Siteworks offers is the promise to make sure that things are correct. Recently a project came to our attention that demonstrated that commitment.

The project in question was a mixed-use development in Oakland, completed in the Summer of 2016. Our Wilshire Collection planters had been specified both on a second-floor terrace area as well as along the corners of the main structure.

Wilshire Collection Square and Rectangular Planters

Northern California has had quite a rainy season so far. Shortly after it started, our regional sales manager Troy Nottingham received a call from the landscape contractor on the project, complaining about leaking and deforming pots. We quickly contacted our local distributor to figure out exactly what we sold on the project.

Before we got the information from the distributor, the general contractor escalated the issue by emailing us, the specifying landscape architect, owner, and everyone else. Troy adjusted his schedule and visited the project the next day to assess the situation.

Wilshire Collection Rectangular and Square Planters

It was a fairly simple answer – there were 60″L x 18″W x 36″H planters at the corners of the project, and the ones facing west had nothing to block the rain. The pots were plumbed for irrigation, but not drainage, and were filling up with water. As they filled, the walls flexed out significantly, something that won’t typically happen with our containers. In addition, the caulk seal around the irrigation penetration wasn’t holding, and water was leaking out.

Troy followed up the site visit with a full report to the landscape architect, general contractor, and landscape contractor. He gave an analysis of the problem, and provided several suggestions to relieve the stress on the containers and solve the problem.

The next week he called the project manager for the landscape contractor, and asked about the next steps. Sheepishly, the contractor admitted that Tournesol had provided the pots for the second-floor terrace (which were doing just fine), but that they had gone to another manufacturer for the ones on the ground floor(!). He hadn’t realized it initially when calling us, only finding out after speaking with their purchaser.

We were of course relieved to know that it wasn’t our product that was the issue. It’s also good to know that when contractors feel that something is wrong, they can count on us to make it right. However, we’d prefer not to have to troubleshoot someone else’s problem!

 

Benches from Biloxi to Jupiter

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Tournesol Siteworks recently acquired FairWeather Site Furnishings, with a facility located in Port Orchard, WA. With the acquisition, comes new products and installations from across the country that Tournesol can now provide. The Washington facility will be our base for metal and wood fabrication.

Pacifica Collection bench  at JupiterFIRST Church’s Serenity Garden

We’ve learned a lot about the company as we’ve gotten to know them. One story we love is how a bench in Biloxi inspired a specification in Florida. FairWeather was specified and provided 20 of the Pacifica Collection benches for a project at the Gulf-Biloxi Regional Airport in Mississippi. The Pacifica benches were installed by Yates Construction and each 6 ft. backed bench was fabricated with 1/2″ x 2″ curved steel bar. The seat sections were fabricated with 1/4″ x 1-1/2″ steel straps.

Pacifica Bench at Gulf-Biloxi Regional Airport, MS

Landscape architect Howard F. Ostrout of Howard F. Ostrout and Associates of Jupiter, FL, was traveling through the airport and sat on one of the benches and thought to himself, “this is one of the most comfortable benches I’ve ever sat on.”

Curved Pacifica benches at JupiterFIRST Church’s Serenity Garden

Fast forward a couple of years to when JupiterFIRST Church in Jupiter, FL, contacted Mr. Ostrout to design a Serenity Garden for the church. He remembered how comfortable he was while sitting on the benches at the Gulf-Biloxi Airport so he reached out to FairWeather to use the same benches for the design.

Straight Pacifica bench at JupiterFIRST Church’s Serenity Garden

Howard requested modification of the Pacifica benches to match his concept for the design of the Serenity Garden. FairWeather changed the orientation of the steel straps in order for some of the benches to be curved, and added custom ergonomic seat sections.  The garden includes 6 curved and 10 straight steel strap benches in powder-coated Burgundy. JupiterFIRST Church continues to enjoy the beautiful surrounding of the Serenity Garden today.

 

Tournesol Siteworks Acquires FairWeather Site Furnishings

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Tournesol Siteworks of Union City announced that it has acquired the assets of Leader Manufacturing, Inc., based in Port Orchard, WA. Leader has been selling a wide range of metal and wood site furnishings since 1980 under the FairWeather brand name.

Austin 360 project, Austin, TX

Tournesol Siteworks has become one of the largest manufacturers of commercial-grade pots, planters and other landscape accessories in the country, and has experienced four years of 30% sales growth. This year, it was nominated for the Association of Corporate Growth “Outstanding Growth Awards” by the Bay Area chapter. Tournesol currently operates plants in Union City, El Paso, TX, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The Port Orchard facility will be the base for metal and wood fabrication for the company. Several current activities will be relocated to the new facility.

Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL

FairWeather is a vertically-integrated manufacturer with an experienced production team, which complements Tournesol’s current capabilities in FRP fiberglass and lightweight GFRC concrete. With the acquisition Tournesol will gain the capacity to competitively manufacture products for the commercial landscape marketplace in any commercially-required material.

According to Christopher Lyon, President of Tournesol Siteworks, “this acquisition makes us into the broadest-category manufacturer in the commercial landscape marketplace, and will allow us to open up a whole new front for product development. The existing FairWeather focus on product quality and customer service fits well with ours, and should simplify the integration.”

Richard and Cathy Flaherty, co-owners of FairWeather, are delighted with the opportunity that Tournesol Siteworks presents to its employees, and potential growth for the FairWeather and FairWinds brands of site furniture. While the Flaherty’s have been approached, several times regarding acquisition, Tournesol was the first company that presented the size, vision and culture that was a strong fit with the principles and ethics they had set for the past 27 years. The sale to Tournesol was a natural next step for the evolution of the brand.

City of Kent, WA

Employees at both locations are excited about the new opportunity. We’ll feature more FairWeather furnishings in future blog posts – stay tuned to find out more!

IUPUI Campus Refresh with Downtown, Urban and Zena

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This year, Tournesol Siteworks had the opportunity to help update the exterior of the Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) campus, located in Indianapolis, Indiana. IUPUI is an urban public research university campus which houses Indiana’s two top, brilliant universities – Purdue and Indiana University. We visited back in August and captured a few great images at the campus.

row-crop
Downtown Collection planters in Shark at the IUPUI campus.

Landscape architects with Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf (BDMD), out of Indianapolis, specified our planters to help update and refresh the northwest corner of the campus that sits in the downtown area of the city. While collaborating with the university’s maintenance crew, BDMD choose planters from three of our popular collections – Downtown, Urban and Zena Collection.

downtown-crop
Downtown Collection planters in White.

All three of the collections were manufactured in lightweight GFRC concrete which is sturdy, but without the weight. When picking the texture, they considered the high traffic areas where the planters would be placed, and the wear and tear they would sustain. Our Tier 1, Natural Sand texture is a durable finish that can easily be refinished and repaired onsite. This detail was very important to the maintenance crew in order to keep the planters looking fresh.

zena
Zena Collection planter in Shadow.

An update and refresh will continue to take place moving forward, as the university replaces and freshens up the campus. BDMD has done a nice job so far bringing modernity to the exterior of the buildings. We look forward to possibly working with them in the new year.

urban-square
Urban Collection planters in Shark.