Growing in the snow

Over 10 inches of snow fell around Boston in the past two days, but things are still growing at the New England Grows Show (www.newenglandgrows.org).

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It’s a great event that addresses landscape construction and maintenance companies. Tournesol Siteworks has been in attendance for the last 5 years in collaboration with our local partner BISCO. We always enjoy our participation as it gives us a chance to catch up on the New England market and activities of local customers.

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This year we have been getting a lot of positive comments on our “deck” made of our new Boulevard Structural Wood Tiles, SpiraPave supports and VersiJack pedestals. The thermally treated FSC-certified hardwoods are also available in benches and tables (the Sydney Bench with Boulevard Wood is shown to the right above).

If you haven’t heard the story: Boulevard wood is made of red oak and ash, harvested and treated in a special high-temperature kiln in northern Minnesota. This natural process changes the chemical make-up of the wood, creating a gorgeous dark lumber that has 25-year durability against rot, pest and decay. The Boulevard lumber is 50% lighter than ipe, and is also available in conventional decking boards.

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Of course, attendees to the show have also been stopping and asking us about our planters and irrigation systems – both cornerstones of Tournesol’s and Bisco’s product line over the years.

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The show runs Wednesday, Feb. 5 thru Friday, Feb 7 in Boston at the Convention Center, home of the 2013 ASLA show. A special thanks to the attendees who made an effort to get here despite the wintery weather, especially since many of them were the ones responsible for helping to clear the snow, salt the streets and make the local cities and towns safe for the rest of us!

 

 

Looking forward to 2014

2014 is has started off strong. We’ve entered into the new year working on a lot of great projects, and thought it might be interesting to share a few of them with you.

Tournesol Siteworks is currently working with Smith & Smith Landscape on an exterior renovation project for the Hotel InterContinental in San Francisco.

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We previously provided the hotel with planters on the upper decks when it was built in 2007.  They are now looking to make some street level improvements by adding custom planters along the west and southern street sides of the building.  Installation should commence in early 2014.

The landscape architect outlined an extensive planting area which we had to figure out how to make level, as the sidewalk slopes quite a bit. We  will be using our  VersiJack adjustable paver pedestals  to level the planters and create a skirt along the front that will follow the slope of the sidewalk and cover the pedestals.  We will also be using our  irrigation and drainage system inside the planters as the hotel is concerned about keeping maintenance costs to a minimum and minimizing water usage.

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It has been a quite design-intensive project. Smith and Smith had a great design, but on a sidewalk project like this (especially in San Francisco), the devil is in the details. We went through many of the same issues (including leveling the planters, creating a skirt, etc.), working on a similar type of project with Carducci & Assocs. at the   Grand Hyatt Union Square in San Francisco last year.IMG_1858Our recent January email blast included information on this projects as well as a series of others. If you would like to be included in our email list or received the new 2014 catalog, please us an email at  catalog@tournesolsiteworks.com.  Alternately, you can download a copy at: tournesolsiteworks.com/uploads/cmsfiles/Tournesol_Siteworks_2014.pdf .
 

Our 2014 Pricelist is ready!!

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2014 List Price Final.inddFresh off the press, our 2014 Commercial List Pricing is ready! It features our brand new VGP tray-based living wall system on the cover, which has already made a splash with our customers. It’s designed as a lower-cost living wall for residential and light commercial installations. As a reminder, the List Pricing represents the cost to the contractor for our product in the field, typically through our distribution network.

Other new products in the list include several site furnishing products – Base, Pebble, Rune, new Wilshire and Urban Collection Benches, the Buzz Bike Bench, as well as several bike bollards. In the pots & planter section, you’ll find the Wilshire Screen (a repackaging of our Wilshire Rectangle planter with the VertiGreen 3D trellis), and Zest and Harlie planters. The deck & paver section features our exciting new Boulevard structural wood tile - the domestic alternative to South American hardwoods. Finally, we have added standardized pricing for the Root Solutions root barrier products.  All in all, over 20 new items!

We can e-mail a copy to you immediately, or mail one in another week or two.  Let us know (either call 800.542.2282 or send an email to info@tournesolsiteworks.com) and we’ll get one out to you.  Our new 2014 catalog will also be coming out soon – more on that shortly!

A few more of our favorite things!

The top 10 list continues…

6. Capella Project for Tropics North, Canada

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This is the coolest product that no one will ever see. Made especially for the Canadian security services, the custom planter/benches are 20′ long and shaped like a boomerang. We had to foam the planter walls so that they were durable enough to be sat on. It was one of the largest pieces that we have ever taken on – and they turned out fantastic!

7. Villa Marina, Marina del Rey, CA

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We loved being part of this shopping mall remodel. It is quite a striking green wall – a creative installation and a showcase for a broad pallet of plants.

 8. Patagonia, Santa Barbara, CA

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Our Northlakes Collection benches and picnic sets were perfect designed for Patagonia’s new employee picnic area. . Patagonia was especially enthusiastic about the Boulevard wood, our FSC-certified domestic replacement for environmentally-challenged but high-performing South American hardwoods. It was just right the fit for this environmentally and socially responsible company.

9. Lowes Hotel, Santa Monica, CA

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Celebrated as one of the highest vegetated walls in the Los Angeles area, we think this is truly a green wall showcase piece. Two types of grasses were used  - one long, and one that stands straight out to create a wave-like movement. The hotel likes it so much, they are planning on covering many of the other walls of the building with living wall.

 

10. The Whitney Museum, New York, NY

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We are honored to be part of the new Whitney Museum of American Art project in New York City. The building, seen here from the High Line (which we’re also a part of!), uses our VersiCell drainage panel under the greenroof on structure. This will also be part of next year’s top 10 because while we delivered the material in 2013, it won’t be open for a while!

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That’s it for 2013 – we’re proud of the projects we’ve participated on, and looking forward to even more excitement in 2014.  Change is in the air – and it feels like change for the better!

 

These are a few of our favorite things

The end of a year wouldn’t be the complete without a top ten list – so here are a few of our favorite things (in no particular order!)

1. Rooftop garden at 1130 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago

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19 custom WS-7200 planters in metal-infused aluminum.  We love the way they put the planters in place first, then built the decking around them.

2. Barnes & Noble TWIG bench project, Palo Alto, CA

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The campus is a cool place already, but the TWIG makes an incredible statement, providing a focal point, communal meeting point, and artistic element all in one.  It’s hard to imagine another product that could have that kind of impact there.

3. The CCDC project, Washington, DC

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Every project can’t be accurately depicted with just a pretty picture! This project was immensely complicated, from a design, tooling & manufacturing standpoint. The customer pushed our timeline on several occasions, and our team responded every time. The product itself probably won’t go down as particularly memorable, although it was nearly 75 unique FRP planter liners, but our performance, in our mind, stood heads and shoulders above anything else we’d been called to do this year. We are rather proud of this one!

4. Our new color palette

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Apple @ Gables Uptown Trail, Dallas, TX

Additions to our new standard colors were a big seller this year as they just can’t help but bring a smile to your face. Shown here in apple, we have also added mandarine, alarm, canary and puddle. We will be keeping our eyes out for the new color trends of 2014, and color matching is always available.

5. Everyone’s abuzz about the Buzz Bench…

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…And, how can you not be! The Buzz Bike Bench was a hit at Dwell on Design and followed that up with a submission at the Museum of Craft & Design in SF. We look forward to future collaborations with Luxxbox of Australia.

Imagine & Innovate 2014

From our December email blast…tournesolsiteworks_jan_13

Nobody is innovating greenwall like Tournesol Siteworks! This year we’ve watched the living wall market’s continued growth – but recognized we’re still in the early days. We’ve knitted together a network of reliable installing contractors that know and understand our systems, and got tremendous feedback that has continued to drive our development efforts. Looking forward to 2014, we are excited about the new products that enhance our already market-leading VGM modular living wall, and expanding the opportunities to put greenwall in places where it wasn’t practical before. With the start of a new year, this is the time to explore your options regarding green wall installations.

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Our new sponge-like stabilized media block for VGM living wall modules answers many of the questions that customer ask. The stabilized media simplifies irrigation and leads to a more uniform moisture level as well as minimizes falling soil (even without the media bag). The unique structure ensures aeration at the plant ‘s roots, which speeds grow-in and keeps plants at their healthiest. We work with one of the leading horticulturalists working with this type of material – it’s a great fit.

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The VGP is our inventive tray-based green wall system. It’s a cost-efficient solution for small to medium size walls. The installation above, at a private residence in Marin County, was set up last week and will be planted this week. VGP is perfect for residential and light commercial installations. Look for our advertisements in the most upcoming issues of LAM and Architectural Record. Explore your options!

AND, FINALLY…

Our new full-line catalog is coming!! This year’s book will be 112 pages of applications, images, product information and technical data.  We’re anticipating that it will be mailed mid-January.  If you feel like you haven’t been on our mailing list for catalogs in a while (and would like a mailed copy), please send your contact information to catalog@tournesolsiteworks.com.

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This year we’re approaching the organization of the catalog somewhat differently. In the past we’ve usually put the “newer” product groups towards the front, and put the pots & planters (still our biggest single category) towards the back. We’re now dividing things between “product you can see” (site furnishings, pots & planters, our new Boulevard wood tiles) towards the front, and the “stuff you don’t” (deck & paver pedestalsgreenwallcontainer irrigationroot barrier & drainage control) towards the back. With products grouped in six categories, it’s a lot to organize!  We hope that it will be easier to use, and would appreciate your feedback.

 

 

Lessons from Boston – and where’s our bench??

Lessons from Boston

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The ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO is a highlight of Fall for us. We have the opportunity to introduce new products, reconnect with customers, business partners and friends. We knew that Boston would be a good one. We stayed in the Parker House hotel (home of Boston Cream Pie!), right on the Boston Commons. Sunday morning we were able to enjoy a delightful stroll around the public gardens – inspiring landscape architecture since 1837.

Some observations:

  • Most of our customer seemed upbeat. Designers in the west and east coasts seem busy, especially with multi-family residential and hospitality work. We heard grumbling that architects are still bidding their services low!
  • Lots of interesting new designs, lot of continued competition in our markets. Established players are introducing new looks at a brisk pace. There continue to be foreign manufacturers that see the U.S. market as a great opportunity. If the past is any judge, they may not stick around.
  • Greenroof and living wall, previously considered “experimental”, are now being looked at for more conventional applications. As comfort grows with the technology, more players seem to enter the market!
  • The most crowded place in the show was the bookstore – landscape architects have not abandoned tradional print media!! Continue reading

All the Buzz at Museum of Craft & Design

We had an exciting night last Friday at the Museum of Craft and Design in SF. Our Buzz Bench was selected to be part of the New West Coast Design 2 exhibit highlighting experimental works in traditional and new materials. We were thrilled to be included with the other architects, industrial and interiors designers, design groups and craft artists working with advance technologies. Curated by Kathleen Hanna and Ted Cohen, this exhibit “focused on the design process itself and how this impulse is manifested by a wide variety of individuals.”

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In our case, it was the the humble bike rack that required a significant re-think. As our urban environment continues to develop, so too does activity around bicycle commuting. And so, the Buzz Bike Bench by Jason Bird of Luxxbox in Brisbane, Australia was developed. As a lifestyle element that can allow large numbers of bikes to parked and locked, it also functions as a meeting place for the urban warrior to sit, relax,  or simply spend some time in the community – the Buzz of city life.

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Let the Competition Begin!

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. Since 2002 the event has expanded to currently include 65 participating teams and nearly 10,000 students in three competitions around the world.

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For the 2013 competition, Perry Cordoza of Nuvis, and currently the President of the SoCa Chapter of the ASLA invited Site Design Studio to design a courtyard as part of the event. Site Design then enlisted us, along with other manufacturers, to “supply the tools” so they could “create the space.”

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Included in our donation were our Willshire Collection rectangular planters in both Alarm and Apple, as well as a TerraScreen living wall system. Both were used in a courtyard entrance within the Solar Village. Thanks to Park West who planted up the planters and assisted with the installation. Continue reading