Category Archives: Company News

TWIGs Calm on Roof Deck Zen Garden

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In Fairfax County, northern Virginia, sits the town of Merrifield, surrounded by highways on all sides. Merrifield has undergone an amazing amount of reconstruction and changes, and has basically been reinvented since the late 1990’s until now. It used to be known as a “suburban wasteland,” yet is now home to new neighborhoods, great restaurants, retail and office spaces, hotels, and shops. One neighborhood in particular is the 31-acre Mosaic District.

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TWIG Bench at Modera Mosaic

We’re taking a fresh look at a project installed in this district about two years ago at the Mill Creek Residential Modera Mosaic Apartments. Modera collaborated with architects from SK & I Architectural Design Group out of Bethesda, MD, and landscape architects from Parker Rodriquez, Inc. from Alexandria, VA. Parker Rodriquez created an amazing Zen Garden in the apartment plaza on the 3rd floor roof deck.

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For the garden seating, Parker Rodriquez specified our modular TWIG  benches which were installed by landscape contractors from Ruppert Landscape, out of Gainesville, Virginia.  As part of the design, the TWIG benches were to be encompassed by the landscape and garden greenery (shown in the photo below). Apartments are on the perimeter of the roof deck, yet the center of the deck is a public space for gathering. It is a great achievement in the design, as residents are able to walk out of their own unit (each with sliding doors) to have their own private amenity space/garden, yet on a public roof deck.

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Lush greenery encompassing the TWIG bench

The TWIG bench originated with Street and Garden Furniture, our partner down under, in a design by Alexander Lotersztain. We make the TWIG bench from lightweight GFRC concrete. Since this is a rooftop application, the weight of the TWIG was a main consideration by Parker Rodriquez. However, it was a win-win situation because each bench only weighs 700 lbs. allowing for lower environmental footprint during shipping and installation.

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The 18 on-grade TWIG benches enhance this dynamic space.  Within many color options for the TWIG, Parker Rodriquez chose the color “Shark” in the Tier 2 Texture “Acid-Etch” – a nearly smooth, fine sand finish that is consistent, elegant and rich looking.

Another interesting feature of the TWIG benches is that they were used as retaining planting walls for the soil behind them, eliminating the need to pour concrete to hold the increased depth of soil for the landscaping.

This is a beautiful application and we were excited to see the fully grown, lush greenery, and the roof deck application where the tenants can enjoy their apartment community.

 

 

 

 

 

Immense 50 Foot Living Wall in Irvine

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A few months ago, our partners at Instant Jungle International received a visit from the new owner of the building at 2082 Michelson Drive in Irvine, CA. The owner was looking at the plant selection at Instant Jungle, and noticed their display of our VGM Modular Living Wall. He became interested in creating a living wall on his new property. Landscape Contractor, Greg Wallace, from Instant Jungle invited our salesperson to meet with the owner to discuss the dimensions, location and installation of a “spectacular” living wall, as well as the plant pallet for the plant growth and maintenance. After the discussion, we collaborated with Greg to create an enormous exterior green wall for the customer.

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VGM Living Wall After Installation

The wall measures approximately 50′ H by 10’W, incorporating 120 of our VGM system modules; they attach to stainless steel hanging rails and when mounted to a structurally sound wall (shown in the photo below), require minimal penetrations .

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Instant Jungle was responsible for pre-growing the succulents and plants in the VGM trays (about 2-3 months in advance), and installing the living wall modules. Each planting module, made of 100% recycled polypropylene, has a generous 4″ or 8” soil profile. Because root growth isn’t limited to small cells or baffles like in other systems, plants grow healthier and stronger, which means lower maintenance yet more spectacular results.

Our partners at Ewing Irrigation have produced a video displaying the ease of mounting and installing our VGM Modular Living Wall System – click here to watch the video.
20160420_172311Instant Jungle also installed our stabilized Media Block, an organic base material stabilized into a sponge-like block that fits perfectly in the VGM module. The media block absorbs up to five times its weight in water, but only weighs 40 lbs./pcf, facilitating even irrigation, faster grow in and optimal plant health. Instant Jungle is also maintaining this living wall, as maintenance is key to ensure the plants continue to grow and thrive.

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Before and After

This immense, gorgeous living wall can be seen at a distance or up close, allowing many onlookers to enjoy the plant colors, layout and design. We are thankful to Instant Jungle for being a wonderful partner and for inviting us into this project. Can’t wait to check back in a few months for a second look!

 

 

 

We’re moving – Union City here we come!

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We’re moving to our new facility on June 30th, and we couldn’t be more excited! Tournesol Siteworks has been in our current building for over five years and now it’s time for a huge change. Friday, July 1st will be our first day in the new building.

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Old facility

Our new address is 2930 Faber Street, Union City, CA, 94587, just about two miles from our current plant in Hayward.  Our phone number remains the same: 800-542-2282. We may be a little hard to get a hold of as the phone lines switch from one facility to the next – have patience, and send us an email!!  Please bear with us this week as the move is an enormous task. We’ll try to make this smooth, as answering your calls is most important to us.

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New facility

A little about the new building….it is 43,000 sq.ft. of warehouse space large enough for individual casting, prep and painting rooms, as well as a dedicated dust-free drying room. Next to the drying room is office space surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, flooding the work space with natural light. Inside, the newly installed cubicle spaces are a fresh color “breeze” (light blue) with wood brown desktops. Just inside the main front entry doors, the lobby area is large enough for a showroom for finished products. It’s a serious upgrade for us, one that we’ve grown into.

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Future front entrance showroom

The entire company is ready for this change and Thursday can’t come soon enough – we’ve been working on this move for over six months. Here’s our last shot at the old place, with some of the amazing employees at Tournesol Siteworks who daily make the magic happen and work hard to make sure that all of our customers get what they need!!

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Amazing team

It’s a Jungle out There!

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A few weeks ago, Tournesol Siteworks was invited to an open house hosted by our partners Instant Jungle International out of Santa Ana, California. Instant Jungle invited many architects and landscape architects to gather, and to present our green wall and living wall products. A couple of our sales people attended and had a great time!

Instant Jungle Open House

Photos courtesy of Instant Jungle

After enjoying an amazing BBQ lunch from TK Burgers, Greg Wallace (IJ) showed the attendees the displays their team created featuring our VGM Modular Living Wall, with plant growth in process. IJ also showed examples of our VGP Tray-based Living Wall System and TerraScreen Interior GreenWall.

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Our VGM system modules attach to stainless steel hanging rails and when mounted to a structurally sound wall, require minimal penetrations. Each planting module, made of 100% recycled polypropylene, has a generous 4″ or 8” soil profile. Because root growth isn’t limited to small cells or baffles like in other systems, plants grow healthier and stronger, which means lower maintenance yet more spectacular results.

Our partners at Ewing Irrigation have produced a video displaying the ease of mounting and installing our VGM Modular Living Wall System – click here to watch the video.

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Photo courtesy of Instant Jungle

They explained how the VGP system offers versatility and easy installation desired by light commercial applications. The trays may be hung on a VGP mounting panel, standard 2″ x 3″ welded mesh or wire, or along rods or stainless steel rope. Each tray incorporates an anti-lift arm to prevent unwanted removal, but requires no other bolts or clips. Trays are hung at either 6″ or 9″ intervals, depending on the plant size and the project budget.

Our partners at Ewing Irrigation also produced a video displaying the mounting and installation of our VGP Living Wall System – click here to watch the video.

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Instant Jungle also presented the attendees with our TerraScreen Green wall, describing how it offers more flexibility than any other green wall system; designed so that the planting may be easily updated so the installation is appropriate to the style, season and environment. TerraScreen panels are made of powder-coated galvanized steel wire, with removable brackets to fasten the panel to the wall. Plants are placed in their 6” grow pot directly into the black no-hole cachepot. It is the solution to the challenge of installing a living wall that is instantly lush, and easy to refresh and maintain.

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Thank you, Instant Jungle International, for the open house and for inviting key players in the industry to show how magically to use our products to beautify their applications and projects. We are thrilled to be working with such a fabulous company and great partners.

 

 

 

Fresh, Cool Style at Hotel Zephyr

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San Francisco is a city that is alive, constantly morphing and changing. The breeze from the bay brings the sounds of the waterfront to the courtyard of the Hotel Zephyr, close to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, CA. The hotel has recently refurbished the exterior decor and has created a uniquely different environment for hotel guests, including a fire pit and a large, 40 foot periscope with views of the water and Alcatraz.

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Being close to the bay, Jett Landscape Architecture + Design wanted to bring port and shipping elements of the wharf into the Hotel Zephyr project design. Using large segments of metal shipping containers, they created walls surrounding the courtyard of the hotel. Jett Landscape specified Tournesol Siteworks‘ VGM Modular Living Wall System on one wall of the courtyard, which was installed by Eggli Landscape Contractors, out of Redwood City, CA.

Zephyr VGM

The VGM Living Wall system consists of 100% recycled plastic planting modules attached to stainless steel hanging rails. Each planting module, made of 100% recycled polypropylene, has a generous 4” or 8” soil profile. Because root growth isn’t limited to small cells or baffles like in other systems, plants grow healthier and stronger, which means lower maintenance yet more amazing results. Eggli also installed our stabilized Media Block, an organic base material stabilized into a sponge-like block that fits perfectly in the VGM module. The media block absorbs up to five times its weight in water, but only weighs 40 lbs./pcf, facilitating even irrigation, faster grow in and optimal plant health.

Zephyr 5For a rustic effect, they used steel sheet pilings (also used on the waterfront) for decoration in the northeast corner of the courtyard. Inside the pilings, we created custom trapezoid-shaped Welded Planter Liners that are 34″ wide in back, 15″ wide in front, 48″ tall, and 18″ deep. The welded planter liners were inserted into the steel pilings and used as planters.

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At the front of the stylish Hotel Zephyr, Patrick Lamar from RHI Construction out of Santa Rosa, installed our Boulevard Wood Decking, which compliments the entrance (as shown in the photo below). Our Boulevard thermally-modified wood goes through a process which changes the chemical make-up and cell structure of the wood. The process creates lumber with exceptional resistance to rot, pest, and decay. Technically, it shares a 25-year preserved-wood-like durability level similar to South American hardwoods, but is ecologically-friendly.

The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption (which is great for San Francisco’s wind, rain and bay weather) and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement.

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We are thrilled to have been part of the redesign of Hotel Zephyr and to be part of this cool stylish, trendy installation – right in our own backyard (well, across the bay at least).

New Year, Positive Positioning

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Happy New Year! Tournesol Siteworks is kicking off the new year with our feet running. Our new catalog is now on our website homepage, which you can view and download.  We are thrilled it is complete and hope you will enjoy the new “lookbook.”

Also, we’d like to let you know of a few changes in our sales personnel that will make a large impact. First, we welcome our new employee, Phil Sheldon, as the Outside Sales Representative for the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. Previously, Phil managed the Northeast region for Ennis-Flint, offering a range of decorative paving solutions for streetscapes, crosswalks, and traffic calming projects.

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Phil Sheldon

He helped landscape architects, engineers, and developers identify and specify project solutions, and managed a network of certified contractors for installation. Prior to that Phil practiced as a registered Landscape Architect, including 10 years at Sasaki Associates in the Boston area. When not working, Phil enjoys spending time with his family, listening to music, and traveling.

Next, we announce Troy Nottingham’s  promotion to Outside Sales Representative for the Northwestern region. Troy joined Tournesol Siteworks in February 2014, and has served as an Inside Salesperson supporting our Southwestern territory.

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Troy Nottingham

With this promotion, Troy will focus on meeting with our customers face to face while working on various current and future projects. The majority of his time will be spent out in the field. Troy enjoys traveling with his wife, trying new foods and embracing his love of craft beer.

We also welcome Andy Vratny to Tournesol Siteworks as our new Inside Sales Representative.  Andy comes to us from Proteus Industries  where he served in a Inside Sales and Technical support position. Andy will be taking on  the responsibilities Troy had in the Southwest, and has alrady made an impact to the sales team.

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Andy Vratny

Andy enjoys speding time with his wife and taking their dogs on hikes, walks and recreational activities. He also enjoys traveling, reading, learning and opening his mind to new adventures.

Welcome and congratulations Phil, Troy and Andy!

Hey, Kool-Aid!! TWIG finds its way to Nebraska

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Tournesol Siteworks recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Brian Pecka, landscape architect with Big Muddy Workshop, in their design for the town of Hastings, Nebraska. Hastings is known as the place where Kool-Aid was invented in 1927 and still celebrates that event with an annual festival in August. The festival takes place on the Hastings Campus of Central Community College.

CCC Nebraska

Recently, a new seating plaza was unveiled outside the CCC’s Student Union Hall. Big Muddy Workshop used five of our TWIG Benches – they were looking for an organic shape and feel to break up the harsh lines of the plaza’s concrete surface. They worked on the project with Wilkins Architecture Design & Planning (WAEP), an architectural firm out of Kearney, Nebraska. General Contractor for the installation was Lacy Construction Company, from Grand Island.

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The TWIG Benches help create a highly configurable, modular seating system which promotes social interaction and a casual environment. TWIG originated with Street and Garden Furniture, our partner down under, in a design by Alexander Lotersztain. The benches are made from lightweight GFRC concrete.

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A concealed mount bracket keeps the bench in place with epoxy anchors. The TWIG Benches create a more dynamic space by breaking up the straight horizontal and vertical lines of other features in the plaza. At night, the seating plaza is lit up by the steel light posts creating a warm, lit effect across the space.

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The students actively use the seating area as a place to get outside and rest between classes, especially during nice weather. It is accessible in the front of the campus and the open shape of the TWIG creates a feeling of community.

Catalog coming soon!

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Our new catalog is being printed soon! 


The 120 page catalog will be mailed out at the beginning of December and will include updates on our most recent products. It has an entirely new format featuring inspirational photo galleries of installations and product applications.

To receive our catalog, please email catalog@tournesolsiteworks.com

Postcard front look

The New Whitney Museum of American Art

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The Whitney Museum of American Art recently opened in a new building located in the Meatpacking District of lower Manhattan, New York, on the Hudson and at the southern entrance to HighLine Park (which Tournesol also participated in). The iconic museum was designed by architects Renzo Piano Building Workshop, with Henshell and Buccellato, Consulting Architects, out of New Jersey.

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The roof decks and visual ambiance of the building are simple and elegant, creating a fresh and vibrant usable space. However, water is no friend of the art inside the building, so strength and maximum water flow was of utmost importance to the designers and engineers. The broad terraces of the building collect large amounts of water, which needs to be effectively drained and kept from the building envelope.

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The installing roofing contractor, Eagle One Roofing from Queens, used our high-performance VersiCell Drainage Panels in a vertical and slanted orientation as a high-capacity drainage channel at the edge of the deck, between the substructure and the building envelope.

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Other drainage products compress over time, but the sub-surface VersiCell Drainage Panels are non-compressible, high-strength drainage panels. The panel’s durable open structure provided assurance to design professionals that water won’t collect where it shouldn’t.

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Stonewear now part of Tournesol Siteworks

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As of June 1, Stonewear Composite Stone Products of El Paso, TX has become part of Tournesol Siteworks. We’re rapidly growing, and acquiring Stonewear gives us the opportunity to take advantage of their maquiladora-based lightweight concrete manufacturing footprint straddling the Texas-Mexico border.  In addition, Tournesol will now be able to offer turnkey fountains, security and barrier products and an even larger selection of site furnishings and planters.

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a turnkey 12′ Stonewear Fountain

Tournesol will be consolidating the full current Stonewear product offering into its existing lineup. Stonewear’s focus on products for urban landscapes fits perfectly with Tournesol’s existing strategic direction. Most exciting is the line of pre-engineered fountains  that Stonewear has been manufacturing for the last 20 years. There are hundreds of  options, and when combined with Stonewear’s installation services, adding a dramatic splash to a project couldn’t be any easier.

Turnkey fountains from 8'-16'

Turnkey fountains from 8′-16′

We’ve been close with Stonewear for nearly a decade, and have always admired the level of craftsmanship of their work. Their focus on operational excellence in GFRC will enhance Tournesol Siteworks’ offering in that material, and we’re looking forward to expanding our sales in lightweight concrete with the improved capacity.

Security planter barriers and bollards

Security planter barriers and bollards

Stonewear has a been a leader in lightweight concrete with a history going back over 30 years. Their craftsmen are some of the best when it comes to GFRC, and will be also manufacturing much of our concrete product in the El Paso and Juarez locations. This will free up space and labor for more FRP fabrication in Northern California. We’ll explore more of their product options and features on future blog postings.

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Aventine urns, with base

Former Stonewear owner Ben Vandenbossche commented that “Tournesol will be a great home for the Stonewear product line. They understand selling and marketing to designers, and we’re looking forward to them continuing the Stonewear tradtion”  Ben will remain active in a consulting role for several months. The rest of the employees will join Tournesol Siteworks as Stonewear’s operations in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez will be expanded as volume increases.