Category Archives: Pots, Planters & Site Furnishings

Wilshire Planters Atop Lofts at River East

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In the July/August 2017 issue of Retrofit Magazine, Tournesol Siteworks‘ product was featured in an editorial regarding a large project in Chicago, and we were thrilled! The article written by KJ Fields, titled “Lofty Gathering Spot” (pages 72-77), pertains to Lofts at River East: a roof deck offering the apartment dwellers a restful spot for entertainment, social gatherings and relaxation.

‘Chicago is a very industrial city, so it’s helpful
to have outdoor spaces where people can
gather,’ remarks Hana Ishikawa, design principal
at Chicago’s site design group ltd., the firm
that performed The Lofts at River East’s rooftop
landscape architecture. ‘Roof decks on apartment
buildings are very popular in Chicago and
they’re becoming increasingly elaborate. This
renovation has beautiful loft units and it really
needed a nice roof deck to complement them.’

Architects from Chicago firms Fitzgerald Associates Architects and Ghafari Associates collaborated with Landscape Architect, Yuki Takeshima, with Site Design to create the 10,000 sq. ft. amenity space atop the roof deck. The building owner requested many stipulations, desiring to make the deck luxurious and inviting. The landscape architect faced many challenges designing the space. The roof top holds a varying range of grade changes due to the building’s main duct-work and air-handling units being on the roof. The environment had to span over the mechanical and electrical units. Site used the levels to their advantage by creating outdoor “rooms” using landscape and plants for division so the separations did not feel forced.

Wilshire planters at Lofts at River East, Photo by Scott Shigley

In one of these “rooms,” site specified our Wilshire Collection planters  with matching container irrigation.  From Glenview, IL, Intrinsic Landscaping Inc. installed the planters, manufactured from FRP Fiberglass material in our smooth T-0 texture (shown in the image above). They chose MMP Aluminum for the planters’ color; the MMP color mimics the look of our more expensive metal-infused pots, yet the MMP painted colors won’t change over time, unlike the real metals. This continuous color provides predictability for commercial applications.

The Lofts at River East is fabulous and enjoyed by tenants, their friends and families. One last quote from the article  states,

Although the generous views to the
water and Chicago skyline are expansive,
the designers kept the scale human with
the outdoor rooms, diverse-sized furniture
groupings and plant selections.

Florence Collection Gets First Place!

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It’s always inspiring when our products get noticed, especially when we’re on the winning team! Last month, I-Plants Urban Horticulture Magazine sponsored the 2017 International Design Contest. Johnson Fediw Associates is the publisher of I-Plants Urban Horticulture Magazine.

The 2017 Entries were judged by a panel of experts in landscaping, horticulture and design.  Per I-Plants Magazine, the “entries were judged on the uniqueness and innovation of their design; innovative use of materials; appropriateness for the space; and satisfaction of the client.”

‘This project is unique for its design. This team really thought outside the box to bring their client and their visitors something truly special,’ says Kathy Fediw, LEED AP ID+C, CLP, CLT, publisher of I-Plants Magazine. ‘This innovative project is an inspiration to others in the design industry and really showcases what can be done.’

Florence Collection Planters outside The Standard Club

Juli, from Juli Ordower Landscape Architecture, and Joanne Greene, from On the Ledge Landscaping in Chicago, IL, won the First Place Award in the Free Standing Containers category. The winning project is located at The Standard Club  hotel in Chicago. The article in I-Plants Magazine states,

The Standard Club is a private club in the historic South Loop neighborhood of Chicago. It was established in 1869 and its mission is to create a membership of leaders who share a common bond of charitable, social and civic responsibility. On the Ledge approached management about adding additional seasonal containers at the main entrance to enhance the outdoor landscape of the club in keeping with the luxuriant detailing on the inside. The two existing containers did not provide enough of an impact to showcase this iconic building with its stately limestone façade.

Florence Collection Planters at the entrance of The Standard Club

On the Ledge chose 5 of Tournesol SiteworksFlorence Collection planters to adorn the entrance to the hotel and along the length of the building. The rectangular Florence planters sized 72”L x 24”W x 24”H, were manufactured in Lightweight GFRC Concrete.

…5 containers were specified to activate the entry and make it more attractive to members and potential newcomers. The repeating bays of the façade lent themselves to a symmetrical design where the long rectangular planters sit in the middle of each bay. The tall arborvitae shrubs help to give some scale to the massive bays and the annual flowers bring in a pop of color and cascade over the side. It is a very classic design to match the historic nature of the building.

Florence Collection Planters outside The Standard Club

Given the classical design of the building, the planters needed to fit in without clashing. We were able to match the color and texture of the façade with the natural sand finish and chaparral brown color. The other unique piece to this design is that the building spans almost the whole block so we had a very generous amount of space to work with. We were able to specify 6’ long planters that could support 3 arborvitae shrubs in each planter for a balanced, symmetrical design.

This design has been well received by guests of The Standard Club and has made a difference in the neighborhood, as other businesses have begun to follow suit.  Big congratulations to Joanne Green and Juli Ordower for this wonderful project and for the honored First Place Award, well-deserved!

Beautiful Roof Deck Above Chicago’s Fulton Market

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On the 7th floor of the building at 1000 West Fulton Market in Chicago, IL lies an amazing roof deck. The project, named 1K Fulton, contains an immense roof deck and amenity space designed by site landscape architects principal Hana Ishikawa. This Chicago based firm created a beautiful roof deck setting encompassing green roof plantings, decking, planters and site furnishings, where the building’s tenants can gather at any time to enjoy the Chicago skyline.

Photo credit Scott Shigley Photography

At the beginning of this project, Hana and her team started with a clean slate and began the conceptual designs for the rooftop before a tenant was found. As the design progressed, a tenant with a series of specific requirements leased the space. Site revised the design to meet the client’s needs, LEED requirements, as well as the city’s construction stipulations. Site was also challenged to correctly configure the occupancy of the roof deck due to the fact that the amenity deck had only two exits. A complicated project!

Photo credit Scott Shigley Photography

Another challenge was the client’s desire to shift the focus of the deck away from the building and toward the skyline. Site divided the roof deck with grasses,planters, seating areas, and screened the side of the deck along the building. Site specified Tournesol Siteworks’ Wilshire Collection planters which allowed Hana to divide the large areas into sub-areas for more privacy and helped direct the roof deck visitors’ viewing area away from the building and onto the city skyline.

Photo credit Scott Shigley Photography

The 72″L x 72″W x 42″H Wilshire planters were installed by Robert Ebl, Inc., out of Carol Stream, IL.Illino Of the 43 specified planters, 42 of them contained scoops, one of our planter options. Scoop is a feature added to Wilshire Collection planters that allows multiple individual modular units to appear to form a continuous planting area. Adjacent planter walls are lowered and may be sealed in the field with the recommended Scoop Connection Kit, which allows for a continuous layer of soil and planting above.

Photo credit Scott Shigley Photography

Taking care of (someone else’s) business…

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One of the most important things that Tournesol Siteworks offers is the promise to make sure that things are correct. Recently a project came to our attention that demonstrated that commitment.

The project in question was a mixed-use development in Oakland, completed in the Summer of 2016. Our Wilshire Collection planters had been specified both on a second-floor terrace area as well as along the corners of the main structure.

Wilshire Collection Square and Rectangular Planters

Northern California has had quite a rainy season so far. Shortly after it started, our regional sales manager Troy Nottingham received a call from the landscape contractor on the project, complaining about leaking and deforming pots. We quickly contacted our local distributor to figure out exactly what we sold on the project.

Before we got the information from the distributor, the general contractor escalated the issue by emailing us, the specifying landscape architect, owner, and everyone else. Troy adjusted his schedule and visited the project the next day to assess the situation.

Wilshire Collection Rectangular and Square Planters

It was a fairly simple answer – there were 60″L x 18″W x 36″H planters at the corners of the project, and the ones facing west had nothing to block the rain. The pots were plumbed for irrigation, but not drainage, and were filling up with water. As they filled, the walls flexed out significantly, something that won’t typically happen with our containers. In addition, the caulk seal around the irrigation penetration wasn’t holding, and water was leaking out.

Troy followed up the site visit with a full report to the landscape architect, general contractor, and landscape contractor. He gave an analysis of the problem, and provided several suggestions to relieve the stress on the containers and solve the problem.

The next week he called the project manager for the landscape contractor, and asked about the next steps. Sheepishly, the contractor admitted that Tournesol had provided the pots for the second-floor terrace (which were doing just fine), but that they had gone to another manufacturer for the ones on the ground floor(!). He hadn’t realized it initially when calling us, only finding out after speaking with their purchaser.

We were of course relieved to know that it wasn’t our product that was the issue. It’s also good to know that when contractors feel that something is wrong, they can count on us to make it right. However, we’d prefer not to have to troubleshoot someone else’s problem!

 

IUPUI Campus Refresh with Downtown, Urban and Zena

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This year, Tournesol Siteworks had the opportunity to help update the exterior of the Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) campus, located in Indianapolis, Indiana. IUPUI is an urban public research university campus which houses Indiana’s two top, brilliant universities – Purdue and Indiana University. We visited back in August and captured a few great images at the campus.

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Downtown Collection planters in Shark at the IUPUI campus.

Landscape architects with Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf (BDMD), out of Indianapolis, specified our planters to help update and refresh the northwest corner of the campus that sits in the downtown area of the city. While collaborating with the university’s maintenance crew, BDMD choose planters from three of our popular collections – Downtown, Urban and Zena Collection.

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Downtown Collection planters in White.

All three of the collections were manufactured in lightweight GFRC concrete which is sturdy, but without the weight. When picking the texture, they considered the high traffic areas where the planters would be placed, and the wear and tear they would sustain. Our Tier 1, Natural Sand texture is a durable finish that can easily be refinished and repaired onsite. This detail was very important to the maintenance crew in order to keep the planters looking fresh.

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Zena Collection planter in Shadow.

An update and refresh will continue to take place moving forward, as the university replaces and freshens up the campus. BDMD has done a nice job so far bringing modernity to the exterior of the buildings. We look forward to possibly working with them in the new year.

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Urban Collection planters in Shark.

Miracle on 34th St – Blast from the Past!

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This week, our Northeast Sales Manager, Phil Sheldon, was in New York visiting a few customers. He had an opportunity to revisit our products on the streets of New York, that we delivered nearly 15 years ago, and see how well the planters are holding up.

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34th St. Partnership Planters NYC

Back in 2002, we rotationally molded custom LLD polyethylene planters for the 34th St. partnership, a business improvement district in midtown Manhattan. We began working with their designer, Ignacio Ciocchini, as he was looking at various materials for the pots. He started the discussion assuming the pots would be made in FRP fiberglass. We convinced him that plastic could be done attractively, and be far more durable than the fiberglass.

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The planters are still there and will celebrate 15-years on New York city streets. They look remarkably fresh, given the traffic levels that they have to withstand. They all look like they could use a good cleaning (lots of splotches, likely from dirt that has splashed up from the sidewalk or the street). Because we used a custom green matrix finish, the dirt isn’t as noticeable as it would be on a solid-color pot.

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Planters in front of Penn Station, NYC

The planters see a lot of abuse and are subject to everything that happens on the sidewalk. They are in many places, in front of hotels with the luggage carts that may bump into them, as well as Madison Square Gardens above Penn Station. Even with all the abuse, the planter units have very little scuffing or physical damage – just a lot of grime.

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These pots replaced custom cast concrete planters, that only lasted a few years. That is a testament (a miracle, have you) to the durability of the material in a extremely taxing environment!

San Francisco Shipyard Coming to Life

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The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard area in San Francisco, CA, is being transformed and will eventually be a residential extension of the Bayview neighborhood. This part of the city is up and coming, and is part of the city that outsiders see most rarely. The first phase of construction began in 2014, and first completed was a beautiful park for the community to enjoy. There will be residential housing that encompasses 800 units, and 20 acres of parks. Five residential units have been completed so far in this construction zone, and three more are underway, designed by four different architectural firms.

Block 51, Wilshire BOx Hanging Planters

One of the firms, Ian Birchall and Associates, specified Tournesol Siteworks products for the four-story condo building they designed. We referred to the project as Block 51 which has a large courtyard, accessible from the street. Inside the courtyard, IBA designed a modern wall of green vegetation beginning with our Wilshire Box Hanging Planters. Landscape contractors Shooter & Butts, Inc. installed the hanging planters on a metal wall with metal trellises where vines grow/climb up the wall.

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Courtyard of Block 51, Wilshire Box Hanging Planters

We design the hanging planters so that the product doesn’t take center stage – we prefer the plants steal the show. The hanging brackets are powder coated with stainless mounting studs. The brackets tuck into the back of the box, so the planter can snug up next to the wall.

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The plants quickly grow and expand onto the trellis screens. Using our WB-1218 (12″W x 18″H in, 72″L and 96″L) boxes maximizes the room the plants can grow. Typically, the more soil there is in a pot, the bigger the plant will get (the roots expand as much as the upper part of the plant will). IBA also chose various sizes of our lightweight FRP Fiberglass planters from our Wilshire Collection now located around the perimeter of the building.

The installation looks amazing and we’re sure the tenants will enjoy their surroundings full of warmth and color.

 

 

America In Bloom – Step Right Up

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A few weeks ago, Tournesol Siteworks was contacted by Edith Makra, a enthusiastic supporter of urban wood (it’s how we met her) and board member of America in Bloom.

America in Bloom is a national organization that promotes beautiful, livable communities and cultivates civic leaders as stewards. We recognize the most exceptional communities in the country with awards, a ‘bloom rating’ and sometimes grants to help them plant and beautify their communities.”

 

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Photo courtesy of America in Bloom

This is a wonderful organization experienced in bringing communities  together. Their vision:

 “America in Bloom envisions communities across the country as welcoming and vibrant places to live, work, and play – benefiting from colorful plants and trees; enjoying clean environments; celebrating heritage; and planting pride through volunteerism.”

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Photo Courtesy of America in Bloom

October 6-8, 2016 is their annual symposium being held in Arroyo Grande, CA. Edith described the symposium and requested a donation (from friends and supporters) to enter into their onsite and online fundraising auction. The auction raises money to support programs at America in Bloom and takes place during the symposium. Most of the audience and attendees of the symposium build and improve parks, plant flowers, and promote sustainable lifestyles. Tournesol Siteworks believes strongly in the mission of AIB, and has donated a lightweight fiberglass Harlie Collection planter for the auction. It’s one of our most attractive, which will hopefully draw bidders and help the cause.

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Harlie Collection Planter

The Harlie Collection is a planter designed by Luxxbox, our Australian partners from down under. Harlie planters are a cool, prismatic form with a distinct design edge and are durable for outdoor environments, even locations with heavy traffic. “Puddle” was the chosen color for this 24” Harlie planter in the finish “T-0,” which is a smooth, painted gel-coat surface. The strength of FRP fiberglass allows us to make pots and planters that hold incredible amounts of weight with remarkably thin walls. Because our fiberglass is designed to withstand being outdoors, Tournesol Siteworks typically uses a thicker, heavier wall section than most other fiberglass manufacturers.

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Harlie in White

In the online auction, donations and gifts are visible through the website Bidding for Good, just click here for the auction. If you are interested in bidding on our Harlie Collection planter, located at the onsite auction, please contact America in Bloom at 614-453-0744.

Thermally-Modified Wood Planters Presentation

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In Concord, CA, the Willows Shopping Center has been receiving a remodel for the past few years. Many architects, contractors, and landscape architects have been called to help beautify specific sections of this sleepy shopping center, and modernize the area for the community of shoppers and diners. One project in particular involved upgrading the exterior of Fuddruckers restaurant. Johnson Lyman Architects, out of Walnut Creek, specified our Boulevard Wood Planters for the front entrance of the restaurant.

fudds

Tournesol Siteworks’ wood planters were installed by Lenzi Incorporated, out of Stockton, and arranged as a decorative barrier along the length of the dining area (shown in the photo below). Each planter is 48″L x 18″W x 36″H and has been beautifully planted with various succulents.

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Thermally-Modified Boulevard Wood Planters

Our wood planters are produced from Boulevard thermally-modified wood which goes through a process that 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.

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The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement. Over time, weathering will reveal the wood’s natural patina to a silver, grayish color.

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As the Willows Shopping Center continues to be remodeled and renovated, we look forward to seeing the outstanding results.

TWIG Benches and Urban Planters in Walnut Creek, CA

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The Pacific Plaza in Walnut Creek, California, is an office property of CBRE which offers tenants unobstructed views of nearby Mount Diablo. Recently, the exterior landscape received a renovation to modernize and refresh the building, and to increase the curb appeal. Gates & Associates Landscape Architecture was the specifier and chose Tournesol Siteworks‘ products for the project.

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White TWIG Benches with Urban Collection rectangular planters

Gates chose our Urban Collection planters with matching container irrigation. Along with the planters, Gates liked our TWIG benches in lightweight GFRC concrete. The three TWIG benches are highly configurable, modular seating that presents a pleasant, casual area in the front entrance of the Pacific Plaza. The installation of the planters and benches was completed by Brightview Landscape Development.

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Round Urban Collection White Planters

Various sizes of our lightweight FRP Fiberglass Urban Collection round planters were arranged, and 15 Urban Collection rectangles measuring 36″ x 24″ x 24″. Inside the white planters, matching CWM Modular Self-Watering Systems reduce maintenance and are designed for use in any large planter, freestanding or otherwise. Reservoir modules are linked together and buried within the pot. The hand-filled reservoir utilizes Tournesol Siteworks’ vacuum-sensor system to precisely monitor the soil moisture in the container, giving plants exactly the amount of water they need.

Gates & Associates also specified our Drainage Control Products, which are used to evacuate planters where no drainage can be tolerated (such as this plaza), provide overflow for excess water, and control drainage. Our Drainage Systems are designed to integrate with our irrigation and containers, yet can also work well with pots or planters from any manufacturer. We now feature a special level of waterproofing (called TourneSeal) for critical applications like this.

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Pacific Plaza Front Entrance

Gates & Associates created a nice, comfortable atmosphere at the Pacific Plaza and we were happy to have been chosen as part of this landscape remodel.