Category Archives: Green Wall

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.

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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).

Starbucks’ Greenwall, Disney and Us!

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A few years ago, Tournesol Siteworks had the opportunity to work on a unique, one-of-a-kind project in the land “where dreams come true” – Disneyland! We recently revisited the living wall installation at the Starbucks location in the Downtown Disney District at  Disneyland Resort. After two years, with loving care and maintenance, the green wall has fully grown in and continues to look amazing.
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Architects Orange and LandStudio 360 with David Ling, designer, brought unique elements to this specific Starbucks store. Greg Wallace, the grower from Instant Jungle, initially installed and has now maintained the greenwall over the last two years.  We spoke with Greg this week regarding the maintenance. He shared a few of his challenges with this project.

The wall is north facing, so there is some morning sunlight and the temperature gets really hot in this location, despite what they expected. Greg’s initial plant choice was Mondo grass, a small grass that is a drought resistant plant, yet didn’t grow to fill the module well. Mondo grass prefers mostly shady conditions, and the heat caused the grass to brown out. He needs to use drought resistant plants that like the heat, some sun, and shade, and is challenged to find greenery that can coexist in the living wall. Greg replaced the grass with Cenecio, which is more of a succulent with a slightly blue color, under Spider plants.

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Another challenge is the location of the wall, as the public can touch the greenwall since it is close to the entrance of the Starbucks with seating in proximity. Being in Downtown Disney children are everywhere and tend to pull at the plants and have actually pulled the modules from their placement in the VGM System. Instant Jungle maintains the wall by replacing the plants that are broken or damaged by the public, and adjusts the modules back into place where they belong.

Greg says that continued maintenance of a greenwall involves being aware of heat issues, having to exchange bottom plants periodically and to vary the wall with plants that can adjust to the weather. Both Disney and Starbucks are adamant about displaying the design so, in turn, Greg works hard to make sure the plants are happy.

“The key to a long-term, flourishing greenwall is the investment in care and maintenance. Treat the greenwall as a living wall, an actually ‘living’ project, needing routine checking on, caring for, and feeding of the plants over time,” shared Greg. “It’s important that whoever is in charge of the plants after any installation, understands the choices and varieties of greenery; the plants need to coexist. Tournesol Siteworks’ VGM Modular Living Wall system is the best solution I could have used on this particular application, and I’ve looked at many other systems for my living wall projects. This was the right product, at the right time, for the right place.”

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With the VGM System, root growth isn’t limited by restricting cells or baffles, thus plants grow healthier and stronger. Without maintenance from a grower, the overall health and beauty of the living wall is not sustainable and the greenwall will more than likely wither and die.

Due to a great partnership with Tournesol Siteworks, Greg has had many other client referrals and requests for project in southern California locations, and is currently working on four other living wall installations.

For more information on the initial installation, read here. We are happy to be part of the “magical” atmosphere in the Downtown Disney District with Starbucks and Disney- two companies known for providing their guests with an excellent experience.

Slabtown Comes Alive in Portland

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Slabtown Marketplace in Northwest Portland, Oregon, is part of a larger adaptive reuse project proposed by GBD Architects and Holst Architecture, both of Portland, and adopted by the city in 2012. The Master Plan for the area will include mixed-use development with current office and warehouse buildings, and hopes to be the hub for Portland’s newest neighborhood, the Conway District.

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©2016 David Papazian: David Papazian Photography

Slabtown Marketplace was originally built in 1952 as a 36,000 sq. ft. concrete shipping warehouse that has now been converted into three separate retail spaces.

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GBD and Holst collaborated with Lango Hansen Landscape Architects to create a pedestrian walkway, as well as a beautiful gathering space and focal point to inspire community interaction. On the side of the wall facing the walkway, Lango Hansen utilized Tournesol SiteworksVGM Living Wall System and a series of Cor-Ten steel panels for visual interest.

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Teufel Landscape, out of Hillsboro, Oregon, was responsible for pre-growing the plants and installing the living wall modules. The VGM3 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 spectacular results.

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Modules were shipped broken down to the jobsite, where they were assembled, filled with  VGM media block, and planted by Teufel Landscape. Grow-in was greatly accelerated using the specially engineered media block. The stainless steel rails require minimal penetrations and mount to the structurally sound wall. The installation was a success – and we love it when the designers each use the image on their own webpage!

 

 

 

Greenwall Climbing the Tower

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The L’auberge Casino Resort, built in 2012, is an expansive southern Louisiana retreat designed to capture the rich culture of Baton Rouge. The project was designed by Marnell Companies, with landscape architectural support by Lifescapes International.

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Recently our partners at Ewing Irrigation had the opportunity to visit the resort, and captured photos of a fully grown living wall that was installed on the project by contractor Rotolo Consultants  from Slidell, LA.

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This wall utilizes a hybrid of our Tournesol VGM3 living wall modules together with our VertiGreen 3D trellis product. In the project drawing below, you can see the individual VGM3 modules (shaded in green), which were mounted on stainless steel rails behind. The VertiGreen 3D trellis panels were custom cut widths that would complete the wall section.

 

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When planted together like this, the vines located in the VGM3 modules quickly expand onto the VertiGreen 3D trellis (the concept behind our VertiGreen Hybrid product) and make for a thick, low maintenance living wall system. This one has been installed for a little more than three years, and looks as beautiful and dense as the day it went in! We couldn’t even tell what type of product it was when the images arrived.

 

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Mounting the trellis next to the VGM3 modules was done with fixed-distance wall mount brackets (which held the back of the 3D trellis 6″ from the wall), keeping the front flush with the living wall modules. Because of the integration of the less expensive VertiGreen 3D Trellis product with the VGM Modular System, the  overall cost of this living wall was reduced by half!

 

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A Living Penthouse

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Some jobs just seem to take longer than others! In Jan. 2014, we were looking forward to being part of the renovation of Time Square’s Knickerbocker Hotel. It was in the process of being restored to its former glory, thanks to a $115 million makeover by new owners, FelCor Lodging Trust.

Architect Peter Poon and Designer Gabellini Sheppard took the interior down to the floor plates, so it is essentially a “brand new hotel”, except for its extraordinary, original Beaux-Arts facade, which was preserved. A NYC landmark since 1988, the building had functioned as an office building, but it is better known for hosting such guests as John D. Rockefeller, having its own subway entrance, and is thought to have been the birthplace of the original martini!

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The living wall, part of a design by landscape architect M. Paul Freidberg and Partners  of Manhattan, is finally complete! It is the highlight of an amazing Penthouse Suite, and features our VGM modular living wall system. Tournesol shipped over 500 of the 8″ deep VGM3-10 modules, which were installed on three of the exterior walls. Installation contractor  Blondies Treehouse  was responsible for the project installation. We’ve worked with them on a number of living walls in the NYC area.  Blondies was assisted with plant and soil design by Sempergreen and Moerings Green Roof Maintenance.

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The VGM were planted and installed early this year (a year after we anticipated), but have grown in through the summer and, according to Howard Freilich of Blondies. He commented that it was a tough installation, but that we can all be proud of the results.  Thanks, Howard – you make us look great!!

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Pinkberry, clad in green!

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We recently became involved with the Avalon development in Alpharetta, GA, providing them with our VGP living wall system. From the Avalon website:  “It’s located in the heart of Alpharetta.  It is a sustainably designed, 86-acre development with more than 500,000 square feet of retail, a 12-screen all premium theater, a full-service hotel (coming in Phase II), Class A office, single-family residences and luxury rental homes. It infuses resort-level hospitality throughout a walkable, seamlessly connected community of shopping, dining, entertainment, living and working. It’s more than just another place to go, it’s a place to be—a hub of local art and activity that delivers the luxury of the modern South.”

All photos are courtesy of our friends at Greenroofs.com, based in Alpharetta. Join them at the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2015: Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture on April 6-12.

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Continue reading Pinkberry, clad in green!

A Healing Garden

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Children’s Healing Garden 
Cleveland, OH
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The term healing gardens is most often applied to green spaces in healthcare facilities that specifically aim to improve health outcomes. These gardens provide a place of refuge and promote healing in patients, families, and staff. According to leaders in this field, healing comes from the garden’s ability to promote relief from symptoms, stress reduction and improvement in overall sense of well-being and hopefulness. Any environment can promote healing, but gardens are particularly able to do so because humans are hard-wired to find nature engrossing and soothing.
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This particular garden was spearheaded by architects Stanley Beaman and Sears of Atlanta. Regional Salesperson Brian Mitalo assisted them with the basic design, and they engaged local landscape architects Visionscape to help with the horticultural design. Steve Lukasik of Wolf Creek Company (a local irrigation design/distributor) helped design the irrigation plan. It was a full team effort – with a stunning result.
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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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A Fashionable & Efficient Vertical Garden

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The remodel need was obvious: Build a new fence that would screen the neighboring property. In addition, it needed to be a useful and aesthetic part of the back garden landscape while providing a water efficient and low maintenance place to grow fresh veggies and herbs.
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The solution from James Davidge at Davidge Design Studio: Install a Tournesol VGP living wall just in front of the fence. The wall was installed by setting three 6×6 redwood posts in concrete and then creating a frame of 2×4 & 2×6 redwood upon which the plastic grid was attached.
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“We installed separate posts and frame instead of just mounting to the new fence posts to make sure we avoided overloading the fence with the weight of the green wall.  We also ordered an extra plastic grid that we cut up and used on a diagonal to fill the gap between the green wall frame and the fence and hung the VGP from it.  We felt that this custom bit made a big impact on the way the wall ended up looking.”
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 The wall faces due south so it gets lots of sun throughout the day.  They found that the top rows were the first to dry out so they added emitters to the rows below to better control overall watering. Allowing for the differences, the pots were filled with a variety of succulents, tender herbs, veggies, and a variety of greens – such as red leaf, butter, romaine and other lettuces and fancy salad greens. Also, planted were 3 varieties of Kale and dwarf golden celery.
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In addition to the final visual effect, the VGP wall is it is easy to garden and installation is straightforward. Flexibility in layout and sizing for custom installations, easily removable pots and complete coverage once the plants grow in creates an eye-catching green wall that fits in well to the overall landscape composition. According to James, “It has become the focal point of the garden.”
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