Category Archives: Company News

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.

 

Project Manager in the house!

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Tournesol Siteworks is pleased to announce that Geoff Neary has joined the team as inside salesperson for our Northwest region. But, even more exciting for us, he will also be acting as our first dedicated Project Manager, responsible for estimating, providing technical support and coordinating manufacturing for large, complicated projects throughout the country.  We’re excited for him to make an impact quickly, providing support to customers on especially difficult jobs.
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His background as an estimator and project manager for Green Effects in Seattle (where he worked with Tournesol Siteworks on several large, complicated projects) makes him uniquely qualified. Geoff also brings an insider’s perspective to the job having worked in the landscape industry for over 30 years. He hopes to “close the loop” having been on both sides of the process and raise the bar on the manufacturing end.

 

Geoff’s experience allows him the ability to analyze clients plans efficiently and with an eye toward production. Here, he can help our manufacturing team work with a customer’s specs to see what will work, what might not, where might there be issues, how can we build it better and make sure it is right. 

 

“I want production to double check everything. I am there to make sure there aren’t any surprises for the guys in the field. When you are installing a project on a downtown high-rise with a crane, you need to get it right the first time.” From an childhood in New England to raising his own family in Seattle, Geoff knows that from coast to coast competition is fierce and we need to make sure that the quality of our product is top notch from design and production to delivery, installation and years later on site!

 

Geoff is looking forward to working for Tournesol Siteworks. As he says it, “it is not a planter company, not an irrigation company, not a green wall company –  it’s all of them. Chris (Lyon) is not afraid to move into new areas, be it bike racks, recycling bins, or wood decking and tiles. It is exciting to be a part of company that has its eye on the horizon. And, not a small segment of the horizon, but 180 degrees.”

 

Geoff is particularly excited about any projects that bring landscapes into downtown areas and enhance city livability. And, as we all like to hear, Geoff is excited “to be a part of a company that is constantly growing – it’s a cool place to be!”

 

“We’re fortunate to have Geoff join our team”, says Chris Lyon, president of Tournesol Siteworks. “He was a loyal (albeit demanding) customer, and understands what it takes to run a project smoothly. He’ll be able to raise our game immediately!”

 

You can reach Geoff at extension 158 at our office (800.542.2282), or contact him via email – gnearyattournesolsiteworks.com

Chicago Road Trip!

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Things are happening in the Windy City! This summer I had the chance to spend several days traveling with our regional sales representative Brian Mitalo, visiting customers, specifiers and distribution partners. I was greeted by spectacular summer weather, an interesting, dynamic business environment, and one of the greenest cities that you’ll have the chance to visit. The landscaping throughout the Downtown area is really spectacular – you can tell that the city has made landscape maintenance a priority. The plantings along Michigan Avenue, the Millenium Park, flower baskets and hanging planters adorning every outdoor cafe – these people are serious about making the city green.

One of the companies we met with has been responsible for a number of green roof installations throughout the Midwest, including several huge projects out near O’Hare airport. Kurt Horvath and colleagues at Intrinsic Landscaping have installed several projects using Tournesol material, including a TerraScreen interior living wall at Pirch Interiors in Chicago and several large lightweight planter projects. They mentioned that things have got so busy quoting projects this spring that they have had trouble keeping up. Nice to hear our customers are keeping busy!!

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As I was driving to another appointment, I happened upon a project that had just been installed with our VertiGreen 3D Modular trellis system at a Mariano’s grocery store. The installation had only been installed the week before – but it looks terrific!

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It might not look like much yet, but within a few years, the vines should cover the trellis nicely. To get a perspective on the change, a few pictures below of another Chicago project – the Rivers Casino project. The first picture was taken several months after installation three years ago. The second was taken this summer.

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Brian and I spent a good deal of time talking about our new Boulevard structural wood tiles and decking as we were meeting customers. The architects at Wolff Landscape Architecture (located right near the river) were excited about the concept, but stressed that it would need to be Class A fire rated (it is!).  Up to that point, they’ve only ever been able to specify ipe because of this requirements. They do a lot of roofdecks in wood, so they’re looking forward to using it.

We also spent some time with one of our local distributors, Mark from Lake Street Supply. They are the closest shop to downtown, and have great relationships with all the contractors working down there. Mark has built a fantastic business by being willing to try new things and find new products for his customers. We appreciate that in him – he thinks that Boulevard could be an exciting new product for them.

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We took some time for fun, too. This view from the John Hancock building  shows just a few of Chicago’s many green roofs. In total, there are over 350 vegetated roofs in Chicago providing more than 5 million sq. feet of green roof coverage.

On our way out of town we caught up on another installation from last summer. The city installed hundreds of large concrete planters around the entrances on the departures level. They are both decorative, as well as serving as a force barrier.  To keep maintenance to a minimum, each one is outfitted with our CWM container irrigation system. The plants look terrific – as do plants all over the city.

ohare web 1ohare web 2It was great to be in the field and see what’s going on with our partners and customers. I could see from their activity levels that the construction market in the midwest is really gaining steam. We’ll continue to work to be part of it!!