Category Archives: Company News

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.

It’s Tuesday – where am I??

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Roofdecks at the CCDC project (using our planter liners), Washington DC

“Why do all the industry trade shows get stacked on top of one another?”, I found myself thinking after ten days on the road. The last six weeks have been full of travel & conferences – Bond MultiFamily (a meetup of architects & product manufacturers specializing in multi-family residential construction) in April, followed by the mid-year meeting of the Landscape Architecture Foundation in Washington DC in early May.  The photo above was taken of the CCDC project in Washington during the LAF meeting. We provided planter liners for the roofdeck gardens for this spectacular project – we’ll feature it in a blog post soon.

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Visiting with designers at the HD Expo in Las Vegas – the South Chair in white, the Pillow Chair in orange

From there it was on to trade shows – Over the past two weeks we’ve exhibited at the American Institute of Architects National Convention (Atlanta), the Hospitality Design Expo (Las Vegas), the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (in New York with our partners from Luxxbox), and finally RECon (Las Vegas), the exhibition of the Intenational Council of Shopping Centers.

We met with well over 500 architects, interior designers, landscape architects and shopping center owners/managers.  There’s nothing like listening to your existing and potential customers – enlightening, to say the least.

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Viewing installed GFRC Urban Collection planters at the Linq, Las Vegas

 

Some of the highlights from the shows:

The South Chair and the Pillow Chair (see photo below). Both come in bright, interesting colors which grab designer’s attention. We knew that bright colors were in – but this confirmed it. While very different in execution, they herald our entrance into the cafe and casual furniture business.

Combine wood with brightly colored metal or concrete and people will notice it. Our Boulevard wood, whether in planters, furnishings or flooring, was the clear star of the show. The sustainable story, combined with its natural good looks makes it easy to get excited about.

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Tournesol partner James Shaffer of Streetscapes with an architect in our booth at RECon – The South Chair in black and berry, the Pillow Chair in orange

We’ve traditionally found our “sweet spot” with landscape architects.  Nevertheless, architects have been showing greater interest in the range of products we offer – especially living walls, wood decking and pedestals, Wilshire Box hanging planters and VersiCell drainage panel.  Being at the AIA convention was a great experience this year.

A surprise from this series of shows was the number of commercial interior designers that actively specify products in our markets. We met several that have specified us in the past (especially in the hospitality business), and most really like the work we do. It was a great reminder that our reach is sometimes greater than we think!

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Checking out the recent installation of Brisbane benches featuring Boulevard wood near Las Vegas

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.

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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ASLA 2014 – Highlights from the floor

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This year’s Am. Soc. of Landscape Architects conference was held the weekend before Thanksgiving at the Denver Convention Center. Obviously, everyone wanted to attend!

IMG_1807The ASLA is the most important conference of the year for us as it allows us to meet new landscape architects, and check in with clients and friends from all over the country. We greatly value the opportunity to introduce our newest products, check out what other manufacturers are doing and connect with entire landscape community.This year was our first sponsoring the Landscape Architecture Foundation – a fantastic organization working to advance the cause of landscape architecture through research and scholarship. We were delighted to be able to attend the gala, and make a ton of new friends.

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At our booth we featured a lot of our new Boulevard thermally-modified wood – in a new planter design that will be released soon, as well as our Boulevard wood tiles . The market is quickly recognizing the same opportunity – there were three other manufacturers offering alternative wood products that could replace ipe. Unlike the others, our Boulevard wood starts with high-quality ash and oak hardwoods, and uses heat to create a 25-year wood product. Nevertheless, we know we’re on the right track when others are jumping into the market!

We also showed the Pebble stool and  Marina garbage can (both designs by our partners at Street & Garden), and the Rune bench and Harlie Collection planters (designs by Luxxbox of Australia). The attendees loved them!

We are sorry if you weren’t able to attend or we missed you, But you can see what you missed here:

October Round Up

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The GreenBuild International Conference took place last week in New Orleans. It was great for us to connect with our partners at Ewing Irrigation, who showcased many of our products in their booth, including our Boulevard wood tiles and VersiJack pedestal system.
Chris Lyon (right) with the Ewing Water Management Team
When the show traffic slowed some, we ducked out to the New Orleans Riverwalk Terrace (also known as the Spanish Plaza) to visit with Rotolo Consultants and discuss a problem that had come up on the project. Overall, the design (by Studio Outside) looks great.

Finally, we didn’t want you to miss out on what’s going on in our Hayward facility. While we might be busy working on your future projects, we are also having a little fun with our pumpkin carving contest. Anyone who follows us on Facebook has had the chance to vote for their favorites! Looks like the competition is fierce. Happy Halloween to you all!

 

From our latest Email Blast – Renovations & Renewals

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This rooftop renovation just took a walk on the on the wild side! Pennsylvania Building Associates, owners of the property at 1275 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington D.C., needed to hide some mechanical units on their roof. Architect Hickok Cole suggested a green wall to create a decorative “screen.” Gregory Long ofCapitol Greenroofs (who took all the pictures here) worked and James Davis Construction to create this 42′ x 8′ free standing vegetated wall. The image below was taken midway through the summer, approx. 6 months after the initial installation.

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The wall, shown below several months after install, is comprised of 92 vegetatedVGM3-10 modules planted with a mixture of drought tolerant perennials including Heuchera americana, Coreopsis verticillata, Allium, Carex, Pholx and Sedum. Each module has 8″ of growing media, which will provide good insulation for both the cold winters and hot summers of Washington. Capitol Greenroofs opted to use Tournesol’s VGM Media Block on the front half of the module (the front 4″), which they commented allow for a better grow-in.

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The VGM modules were hung on the frame using  stainless steel mounting rails, and the the entire custom 4″ and 6″ tube steel support structure was mounted to the concrete roof deck. Capitol Greenroofs installed a fertigation system with a Dosatron injector and a 55 gal. barrel that holds water soluble fertilizer. The fertilizer, by Plantex Solutions, is 17-5-17 and contains several different micronutrients. The system is run off a Hunter controller, and each row of the living wall has a remote zone controller. While this is relatively complex, it points out the need to have an experienced professional collaborating in the design, and performing the installation and maintenance.

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Capitol Greenroofs also incorporated our FRP Wilshire pots along with CWM modular container irrigation system (seen to the left and to the right of the living wall) to create an instant oasis on the rooftop. Tournesol is proud of our ability to provide a “one-stop-shop” for both designers and contractors greening a rooftop.