Partnerships – from our Feb. email blast

The first few months of 2014 have found us involved in quite a few conferences, workshops, training and sales meetings.  It’s great to be out contributing to these events. Our business, and just as importantly, our industry benefits from these valuable partnerships.

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Our year always starts off in Boston. Regional Sales Representative Brian Mitalo braved the polar vortex to attend New England Grows in collaborations with our local partner BISCO . It’s a great event that always sets the tone for the year. Not only do we get the chance to educate the local landscape community about what’s new, we also get to check the pulse on the New England market – find out who’s doing what! With heavy snow on day one, most contractors were out plowing – but day two turned out great. Boston is excited for our new Boulevard Wood Tiles !

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We were graciously invited again this year to our long-time distribution partner Ewing Irrigationfor their Employee Development Leadership Conference. This year they made it a trade show format, and close to 40 vendors attended this continuing education program for their staff. It was a great opportunity to share our new VGP tray-based living wall system and Root Solutions root barrier product with them. It was quite an event – they made sure each person visted every booth (over 300 people in all).

Just last week we were invited by Valleycrest Landcape Development , one of the largest landscape companies in the world, to present at their Chief Estimator’s Summit. We were in exclusive company – one of just a few companies invited. While we always enjoy sharing our products and experience, this was a great learning experience for us as well. Regional Sales Representative Jon Willingham and Chris Lyon were able to spend time and get the unique perspective that they have to the market.

Speaking of partnerships, we’ve had a great one going over the years with Brigham Young University . For almost 20 years, we have worked with Bruce Maw, the Landscape Architect for the university, on major  projects  and architectural revisions to their magnificent campus in the Utah Valley. With nearly 640 acres under his purview, he has the drive  to create unique spaces throughout the campus, and we are honored to be able  to help him achieve his vision.

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During a recent visit to the campus, we noticed that our Craftsman Collection  were used in their new visitors center. The metal infused, “hand-hammered” copper mimics the intent of arts-and-craft master, Dirk van Erp, on whose work the collection was based. Prior to this installation, our aluminum metal-infused Wilshire planters were used at the expansion of the Marriott School of Management building.

Next up is the new Life Sciences building. Tournesol Siteworks will be providing a number of planters to be used on the rooftop level.  The $950-million dollar project is due to open in the fall of 2014, and will represent a new anchor to southern end of the campus with 265,000 feet of classroom, state-of-the-art lab facilities, auditorium and atrium. We’ve worked with Bruce and his staff for a long time, and we’re always excited when an opportunity like this happens on campus.

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Our 2014 Lookbook & Catalog dropped on Feb 12.  Not to be missed is one of our favorite fresh items  – The Harlie Collection planter. Sticking with our theme of partnerships, this planter comes to us by way of our new collaboration with Australian designer,  Luxxbox . This faceted shape draws on gemology and mathematical principles with a playful edge.

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Altogether, the catalog features over 20 new products and all our product categories – Site Furnishings, Pots & Planters, Deck & Paver Supports, Green Walls & Roofs, Container Irrigation and Root Control & Drainage.  You also find technical information, complete product listings, material finishes and gorgeous installation images. If you missed out on receiving one, please send us an emailcatalog@tournesolsiteworks.com. Alternately, you can download a copy  tournesolsiteworks.com/uploads/cmsfiles/Tournesol_Siteworks_2014.pdf .

In addition, we encourage you to look for our ad placements with media partners, Landscape Architecture  and Architectural Record . Each month we  highlight a unique product, and invite you to “explore your options” with Tournesol Siteworks.

 

Winter travels… Ewing Irrigation, Kornegay Designs, Valleycrest Design Studio

I’ve already been busy out in the field to start off the winter. Just a few notes from my travels…

It’s encouraging to see companies in our industry that believe in the power of education for their employees. Our partners at Ewing Irrigation are truly committed to making sure their employees (and there are a lot of them) continue their training.
photo 1 We were invited this year (and have had the chance many times over the past few years) to visit their Employee Development and Leadership Conference. This year they made it a trade show format, and close to 40 vendors showed up to educate their staff. It’s held in Phoenix in January, so everyone enjoys the beautiful weather.

I spent the day letting the Ewing Branch Managers and Salespeople about our VGP tray-based living wall system, and our new Boulevard Structural Wood Tile. They had each and every person (over 300, total!) go through with each vendor and find out what was new. Quite a feat, and one that we were pleased to participate in.
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I took the opportunity the next morning to visit with our friends at Kornegay Designs, who are located right near the airport in Phoenix. As most who read this blog will know, they are a manufacturer of an incredible line of precast concrete pots. We find our self-watering container irrigation frequently co-specified with their products.

photo 3 I run into Larry and his wife Paula at many of the ASLA events, and always enjoy trading stories about the business. Sitting down in Larry’s office, the first thing I noticed was his old-school drafting board. He has a fantastic eye for design (as evidenced by their products), and he said he just couldn’t visualize the end result as well on a computer. I’ve heard many designers say the same thing – that the art of visualization is being lost as hand-drawing goes the way of the buggy whip.

photo 5 Just last week we were invited by Valleycrest Landscape Development, one of the largest landscape contractors in the world, to present at their Chief Estimators Summit. The meeting was held at the offices of the Valleycrest Design Group, located in Irvine. They’ve recently moved into this new space (very cool space, given the relative generic office building that they occupy) because they’ve outgrown their former locations. Business is good!!

11 We work with Valleycrest branches across the country – it seems like we always have a project in house for them. They were the first company to install a large, commercial greenwall (at the Atlanta Botanical Garden), installed the Miracle Mile “Art Moderne” GFRC and FRP planters in Los Angeles, and completed the “airside” installation of our pots and container irrigation at the Sacramento Airport Terminal B.

13 I was there with our regional sales representative Jon Willingham, who has a great rapport with his local branches. We were one of only 5 companies (!) invited to discuss their most current products. They wanted us to discuss the options available to them for living walls. It was a great chance to introduce the VGP to them – most were already familiar with the more commercial VGM modular system. We also were able to discuss other products, purchasing options, and projects. It was a terrific opportunity, and one that their estimators and buyers appreciated as well.

photo 7The educational efforts never stop – we participated in 4 other shows over the first 6 weeks of the year, not to mention the 10-15 luncheon presentations we’ve already done for designers this year. Please let us know if you have an opportunity for us to show you the developments at Tournesol Siteworks!

 

 

Together creating Smart Growth

New Partners for Smart Growth is currently hosting their 13th annual conference in Denver.

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New Partners is all about building safe, healthy and prosperous communities. The origins of the conference trace back to 1995 as the EPA sought to organize a conference that would focus on sensitive growth and development.

We are proud to be working with our partner, James Shaffer, from Streetscapes in Denver. As he says it, he is a “public space fanatic.” James is enthusiastically involved in various types of municipal groups that focus on urban planning and walkable communities, and we are glad to be able to support him and his mission.

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At the conference, Streetscapes arranged for a space to showcase site furnishings and create a space where the public can interact with each other – a parklet of sorts. As part of the installation we have included our Northlakes Collection bench, Zest Planters, Wilshire Collection cube in mandarin, VGP Tray-Based living wall system and a custom bench by our partners at Street & Garden.  In addition, we have included our brand new Wilshire Screen product, Boulevard wood tiles, and a Pebble Stool.

smart growth 3We are also working in conjunction with conference benefactor, PlaceMatters. Place Matters is a Denver based non-profit think tank for civic engagement and inclusive decision making in the planning of vibrant cities and communities.

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Smart growth is being embraced now more than ever as a viable solution to the many challenges in our community. Tournesol Siteworks is enthusiastic to work with many of the New Partner conference attendees who “cross disciplinary lines to share experience, insights, inspirations, and strategies” to create the best that our urban environment can provide. It is our common goal to create safe, economically vibrant and livable communities for all.

 

 

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

Apple @ Gables Uptown Trail, Dallas, TX

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