Category Archives: Commercial

Past Blast: Tacoma’s Dome District Benches & Bollards

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Since our acquisition of FairWeather Site Furnishings, (facility located in WA,  which is now our base for metal and wood fabrication) we’ve enjoyed sharing the stories of projects and installations. A few years ago, the City of Tacoma, WA, wanted to improve the amenities in the various city districts, including the Dome District. The Dome District in Tacoma emerged in the 1880’s but was originally known as the East School neighborhood due to a large elementary school. Railroad access eventually transformed the district bringing transportation, cars, gas stations, shops and restaurants. Renamed a few times, “Dome District” stuck when the Tacoma Dome was eventually built.

The dome brought life to the district and many older buildings were revitalized, namely Freighthouse Square. For the Dome District revitalization project, the City of Tacoma wanted benches and receptacles installed along sidewalks and building fronts throughout the district, including in front of Freighthouse Square. 

FairWeather was specified by the City of Tacoma desiring the Tradition Collection benches; Victorian-style benches with refined, full contour seat sections made with Ipe wood (optional) and enhanced by the circular details of the ductile cast iron end frames (shown above). Ipe is a hardwood that works well for exterior use and was useful for this project, since the weather in the Pacific Northwest tends to be fairly wet year-round. The city also wanted three Plaza Collection Steel Strap Receptacles, which are manufactured with open tops, and rings at the top and bottom of the receptacles. Tacoma chose domed tops to finish off the look of the Plaza receptacles which included 35 gallon black Polyethylene Liners.

Later, the City of Tacoma specified our B-5 Bollards which were installed by Gary Merlino Construction Company. Our steel B-5 Bollard Collection features decorative steel bollards with an asymmetrical top and collars for a sharp, distinctive look (shown in the image above).

Of the three mounting configurations available (removable, permanent embed or surface mount) Merlino Contstruction installed the steel B-5 Bollards with a concrete fill cap and heavy schedule 80 steel pipe as permanent embed. The bollards are used for security purposes and force protection on various streets and in front of the dome (shown above).

 

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!

 

Tournesol Siteworks Acquires FairWeather Site Furnishings

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Tournesol Siteworks of Union City announced that it has acquired the assets of Leader Manufacturing, Inc., based in Port Orchard, WA. Leader has been selling a wide range of metal and wood site furnishings since 1980 under the FairWeather brand name.

Austin 360 project, Austin, TX

Tournesol Siteworks has become one of the largest manufacturers of commercial-grade pots, planters and other landscape accessories in the country, and has experienced four years of 30% sales growth. This year, it was nominated for the Association of Corporate Growth “Outstanding Growth Awards” by the Bay Area chapter. Tournesol currently operates plants in Union City, El Paso, TX, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The Port Orchard facility will be the base for metal and wood fabrication for the company. Several current activities will be relocated to the new facility.

Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL

FairWeather is a vertically-integrated manufacturer with an experienced production team, which complements Tournesol’s current capabilities in FRP fiberglass and lightweight GFRC concrete. With the acquisition Tournesol will gain the capacity to competitively manufacture products for the commercial landscape marketplace in any commercially-required material.

According to Christopher Lyon, President of Tournesol Siteworks, “this acquisition makes us into the broadest-category manufacturer in the commercial landscape marketplace, and will allow us to open up a whole new front for product development. The existing FairWeather focus on product quality and customer service fits well with ours, and should simplify the integration.”

Richard and Cathy Flaherty, co-owners of FairWeather, are delighted with the opportunity that Tournesol Siteworks presents to its employees, and potential growth for the FairWeather and FairWinds brands of site furniture. While the Flaherty’s have been approached, several times regarding acquisition, Tournesol was the first company that presented the size, vision and culture that was a strong fit with the principles and ethics they had set for the past 27 years. The sale to Tournesol was a natural next step for the evolution of the brand.

City of Kent, WA

Employees at both locations are excited about the new opportunity. We’ll feature more FairWeather furnishings in future blog posts – stay tuned to find out more!

New Orleans: ASLA, Botanical Garden & Omni Riverfront Hotel

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The ASLA ’16 Expo in New Orleans was a hit! It was good to see everyone, and thank you to those who stopped by our Tournesol Siteworks booth to say hello and see our new product offerings, like the accessory pockets, and our Thermally-Modified Boulevard Wood products. There were many architects and landscape architects in attendance, while the sessions allowed learning and collaborating, to take place. We’re already looking forward to next year’s expo in Los Angeles.

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Our booth at the ASLA ‘!6 Expo in New Orleans

While we were in town, we took the opportunity to visit a few projects that Tournesol Siteworks has participated in and we admired the final installations of our products. At the New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park, Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects, from Baton Rouge, specified our VGM Modular Living Wall as the arrival to the garden entrance. City Park has been undergoing renovations this past year and the green wall is proudly placed at the new Arrival Garden and Event Court.

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Arrival Garden and Event Court at New Orleans Botanical Garden

Our partners at Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply collaborated with Rotolo Consultants Inc. who installed the beautiful living wall. The full VGM green wall is 1,000 square feet and is a vertical, lush garden presentation which introduces the park entrance to garden visitors.

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VGM Green Wall at the Botanical Garden

Our group also visited the Omni Riverfront Hotel where Forstall Interiorscapes, in New Orleans, specified planters from our Urban Collection in squares and rectangles. Forstall installed the planters after choosing our Metal Matched Paint in the color iron, from our various options of materials and finishes. The MMP Iron color mimics the look of our more expensive metal-infused pots. The MMP painted colors, unlike the real metals, won’t change over time, providing predictability for commercial applications.

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Wilshire Box Hanging Planters at VA Hospital, New Orleans

Another visit was to the VA Hospital in New Orleans where our Wilshire Box Hanging Planters were installed, and specified by landscape architects from Rotolo Consultants Inc. The 45 rectangular hanging planters are in various lengths, yet  all are 18″W x 36″H and cover the parking structure horizontally.

Our sales and marketing team had a great time in New Orleans enjoying the landscape architecture, history, architecture, music, food, culture, and atmosphere. Can’t wait to return!

 

Our Thermally-Modified Wood in The New York Times

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At the beginning of October, we at Tournesol Siteworks were excited to be selected for a special article in the design section of The New York Times (in print and online), written by Julie Lasky. The article, titled “Architects and Designers Pick Their Favorite New Textiles, Paints and Hardware” featured recent product designs that were selected as favorites by a distinguished group of architects and designers.

Our Boulevard Thermally-Modified Structural Wood Tiles were chosen by Mikyoung Kim, of mikyoung kim design in Boston. She commented that the wood “frees us from using exotic hard woods on our roof decks.” To view the online article, click here.  For a print version of the article see here: tournesol-siteworks-new-york-times-10-6-16.

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Tournesol Siteworks’ Boulevard Thermally-Modified Structural Wood Tiles

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.

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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.

 

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple – Upcoming Project

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FLR Unity Temple image
Photo courtesy of visitoakpark.com

We’re excited to be part of the Unity Temple restoration project. The Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois, is one of the most outstanding  masterpieces of Frank Lloyd Wright’s brilliant architecture. At age 38, Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned by the Unity Church congregation (of which he was a member) to design a new church. Their old building was destroyed by fire in 1905, after being struck by lightning, and the Unity Temple was completed in 1909. It is the only surviving public building of Wright’s Prairie period, is still used for worship services today, and over 20,000 people visit each year.

In 2015, the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation  began a project to make environmental improvements to sustain the architecture in the future and to restore the temple to its original appearance, over 100 years later.

CYLA Design Associates is the landscape architect for this restoration and has specified our Welded Planter Liners for planters on the East and West Terraces of the Unity Temple. The liners are welded together from stress-relieved polypropylene sheets that won’t rust, corrode or rot over time. This is one purpose CYLA specified our particular liners.

Tournesol Siteworks is thrilled to be collaborating with CYLA Design Associates again. It is an honor to participate in such a prestigious project for the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright ‘s Unity Temple, an exquisite display of modern architecture, style and elegance.

 

 

 

TWIGs Calm on Roof Deck Zen Garden

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

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TWIG Bench at Modera Mosaic

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

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

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Lush greenery encompassing the TWIG bench

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

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

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

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