Category Archives: Hospitality

Superb Solutions for a Stunning Sacramento Rooftop

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Recently, Tournesol Siteworks had the opportunity to be part of an outstanding rooftop project at The Sawyer in downtown Sacramento, CA. This multi-use building comprises offices, stores, luxury urban apartments, and the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel.  The rooftop on the 3rd floor has a stunning view overlooking Golden 1 Center, where the Sacramento Kings play.

When landscape architects from Rios Clementi Hale Studios approached the design, they wanted to transform the rooftop into a comfortable lounge area with a pool for residents and tenants to enjoy. First choice was cast-in-place concrete walls filled with greenery, shrubs, and flowers, as well as concrete planters with trees in the center. Rios Clementi’s design goal was to attach two different cantilevered benches (one shown in the image above), and two different cantilevered bar counters, to the concrete wave walls, as well as make lounge seats atop the planters.

Rios Clementi specified our products, yet Swinerton Builders Self-Promotion Division installed the project. In turn, Swinerton reached out to engineers from Tournesol Siteworks to bring this custom design to life. Our engineers needed dimensions of the concrete walls so they collaborated with a site scanning firm that used a laser to scan the area. The laser captured the exact dimensions of the lounge planters (shown in the image above) and the curved walls. From there, Tournesol engineered a structural system that would achieve the aesthetics the designer desired, be structurally sound and easy to install.

The wood benches, bar counters (shown in the image above) and lounge planters were manufactured from Boulevard Thermally-Modified Wood, as well as over 1,000 Structural Wood Tiles surrounding the planters and pool area (shown in the image below). The wood 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. The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement. The hardware and structural mounting units for the benches and bar counters were made of heavy-duty stainless steel.

Beneath the wood tiles, Swinterton installed our VersiJack Adjustable Support Pedestals to allow for rapid drainage, easy accessibility to the waterproofing membrane and concealed services below. Along the outer edge of the rooftop, Rios Clementi specified our Wilshire rectangular planters manufactured in FRP Fiberglass  of multiple sizes. Inside the planters, Swinerton installed our Drainage System to pump water out of the planters when necessary, rather than providing planter drain holes . The planters surround the outer perimeter of the deck, as well as act as dividers configuring separate spaces using living plants (shown in the image below).

This stunning roofdeck is a great example of collaboration, team work, design and function. This project was completed in a very short amount of time which made the designers, specifiers, owners and tenants very happy. We were thrilled to be involved in such an outstanding installation and to provide the solutions with our product offerings.

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!

VGM Greenwall Withstands Force of a Super-Typhoon

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Back in October, the city of Xiamen in Southeast China was hit by super typhoon ‘Meranti,’ one of the strongest typhoons of 2016. The typhoon was at category two as it crossed Taiwan, and weakened slightly as it hit the mainland. Elmich, our partners in greenwall products, had previously installed a VGM greenwall system on JI Hotel Xiamen’s facade  that measures 2, 360 sq. ft.

VGM Greenwall Before the Typhoon

The typhoon had wind speeds of approx. 87 mph recorded as it blasted through Xiamen. After the typhoon, they discovered that the enormous VGM greenwall (including plants!) withstood the typhoon- see the photo below. From Elmich’s blog post:

Super typhoon ‘Meranti’ made landfall in Xiamen City, Fujian with a wind gust speed of around 170 km/h bringing heavy downpours and causing major disruptions to the electricity and water supplies affecting more than 3.2 million homes located in the region.

Elmich VGM mounting system is equipped with anti-lift arms and proprietary anchoring pilaster system, and certified by independent international test authority to withstand wind uplift from various directions up to 110km/h.

In this application, the real test of nature has proven that a product of quality can withstand the strongest typhoon.

 

VGM Greenwall After the Typhoon

The results of the green wall remaining in pristine condition is remarkable and attributes to the durability of the products. The VGM3 is a 100% recycled plastic planting module, attached to stainless steel rails mounted to a wall or structure. Once grown in it provides instant, complete coverage of any vertical surface. With the VGM System, root growth isn’t limited by restricting cells or baffles, thus plants grow healthier and stronger.

For more information regarding the Green Wall at JI Hotel Xiamen, click here.

TerraScreen Green at Herringbone Santa Monica

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Beautiful Santa Monica, CA, draws travelers to well-known places such as the Santa Monica Pier, Muscle Beach and Pacific Palisades. This beach-front city, West of Los Angeles, has something for everyone from shopping and beaches, to entertainment and amazing restaurants. One such restaurant is the trendy Herringbone with the tagline “Where Fish Meets Field.” Herringbone strives to create an atmospheric experience, rather than just a meal. The ambiance reflects nature with indoor trees, plants and greenery, and serves the “best of the sea” and the “best of the land.”

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Entrance to Herringbone’s Santa Monica location

Our partners at Instant Jungle International were contacted by Herringbone, which was looking to build a living wall inside the restaurant. Greg Wallace from Instant Jungle collaborated with their designers to design an amazing living wall. Greg was instrumental in the design phase and chose Tournesol SiteworksTerraScreen Interior Green Wall. Greg described how the TerraScreen offers more flexibility than any other green wall system. It is designed so that the planting may be easily updated and maintained which helps to ensure the installation remains appropriate to each project’s environment and style.

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TerraScreen Interior Green Wall in Herringbone

Instant Jungle installed 16 TerraScreen Interior Green Wall panels 49″W x 49″H x 4 5/8″D and 9 panels 70″W x 49″H x 4 5/8″D – planting a whopping total of 715 plants! Greg recommended the best greenery and a beautiful plant pallet including Spider Plants, Wandering Jew, Gold, Green and Neon Pothos, Bromeliads,  Red Maranta, Calathea, and Kangaroo Ferns.

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Plant selection close-up

TerraScreen panels are made of powder-coated galvanized steel wire, with removable brackets to fasten the panel to the wall. Plants are placed in their 6” nursery pots directly into the black no-hole cachepot, rather than plants directly grown in soil media. This allows a light, easy-to-mount support system, which disappears behind the plants as they are set into cachepots on the frame. It is the solution to the challenge of installing a living wall that is instantly lush, A controlled sub-irrigation system prevents run-off or spills, and allows for easy replacement of plants as wished, and is easy to refresh and maintain.

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The lush green wall at Herringbone is stunning and we are thrilled that their clients are as pleased with the living wall as they are! In fact, there have been a number of Herringbone’s clientele that have inquired about the green wall build and installation. Their clients also want a TerraScreen living wall installed at other locations around southern California.

 

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.

Zephyr VGM

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.

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.

Lauberge casino

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.

 

Lauberge drawing

 

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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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

CitiesAlive green roof and living wall conference – Nashville

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We were at the CitiesAlive conference last week – the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities conference in Nashville, TN. It’s a great show, where we see many of the designers and contractors working on roofdeck projects around the country. There were a lot of new visitors to the show – this is the first time that the conference has been held in the SouthEast, and there is a real move forwards this type of construction here. Our living wall systems (VGM3 and VGP, VertiGreen trellis) still get a lot of attention, but the real star of the show has been the Boulevard wood tiles. These folks install a lot of wood structural tiles, and between the VersiJack pedestals and tiles we got a lot of inquiries!

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As part of the conference, I was asked to speak on a panel discussing “Living walls- expectation vs. reality”. I spoke with Melissa Daniels of Plant Connection in New York (one of the most knowledgable person on living wall plants around) and Greg Long of Capital Greenroofs in Washington DC. You’ll remember Greg from is installation of the VGM wall at 1275 Pennsylvania in Washington. I was asked to present on the client’s perspective on living walls. My point- there are many “clients”. Whether the building owner that commits to the green wall, the facility manager responsible for maintnenance, or the architect or designer, each had a different perspective (and measure of success).

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The conference was held at the brand-new Omni hotel in Nashville. Our pedestals were used (over 6000 total) on the pool deck and recreation area under the ipe paver tiles (by our friends at Eco-Arbor) and concrete pavers. It is a beautiful installation- and you’ll never see our products! It was one of the first really large pedestal projects we worked on, and one that we were anxious to see the results of. Overall it was a great installation – the pedestals did their job, and felt solid underfoot. There wasn’t anyone out enjoying the pool- it was only 27deg that morning!

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This show/conference has become a can’t-miss on our schedule. It gives us the chance to see the main players in green roof and green wall from around the country in one place. We met with the folks that have installed some of our largest projects this year, and it gives us the chance to get important feedback.

We don’t have a lot of time to decompress, however, because the ASLA conference is this week!