Category Archives: Retail

Thermally-Modified Wood Planters – Before & After

This week, we’re looking back or giving a “second look” at a project Tournesol Siteworks took part in over a year ago. We’d like to show the weathering and patina of our Boulevard Thermally-Modified Wood planters over time, and to share how we’ve expanded one product line by offering the Boulevard Wood Mixed Media Planter options.

In Concord, CA, the Willows Shopping Center received a remodel two years ago. Many architects, contractors, and landscape architects were called to help beautify specific sections of this shopping center and modernize the area for the community. One project involved upgrading the exterior of Fuddruckers restaurant. Johnson Lyman Architects, out of Walnut Creek, specified Tournesol Siteworks’ Boulevard Thermally-Modified Wood Planters for the front entrance of the restaurant (shown above).

Photo taken 11/2016

Our Boulevard 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 installation photo above). Each planter is 48″L x 18″W x 36″H and was beautifully planted with various succulents. The wood planters are produced from Boulevard thermally-modified wood which goes through the thermal-modification process.  This 100% natural process changes the chemical make-up and cell structure of the wood, and creates lumber with exceptional resistance to rot, pest, and decay.

Photo taken 11/2017

Technically, Boulevard Wood 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 more resistant to warp, twist and other movement. Over time, weathering will reveal the wood’s natural patina to a silver, grayish color.  Above is a photo of the same planters taken one year later, showing the weathering and beautiful patina of the Boulevard wood.

Boulevard Thermally-Modified Wood Planter with Stainless Steel plank – Mixed Media option

Since this installation, Tournesol Siteworks expanded on the Boulevard Wood planters products; now offering options of swapping out one or more wood planks with planks of different materials, providing designers with more options to beautify spaces. The image just below shows a Boulevard Wood planter with the Mixed Media Panel option.

Boulevard Thermally-Modified Wood Planter with Weathering Steel Panel- Mixed Media Option

We can create wood planters with choices of either Stainless Steel Brushed No. 4, Weathering Steel (shown above), Powder-Coated Steel or lightweight GFRC concrete planks. We’re here to help make your next project a success – Successful sites start here!

Past Blast: Tacoma’s Dome District Benches & Bollards

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).

 

Esplanade Benches Rock Riverdale Park Station

Tournesol Siteworks acquired FairWeather Site Furnishings, with a facility located in Port Orchard, WA, in January of 2017. With the acquisition comes new products and solutions that Tournesol can now provide. The Washington facility will be our base for metal and wood fabrication from here on out. As we’re getting to know FairWeather, we’re enjoying and sharing the stories of projects and installations. Here’s another great story to share.

Riverdale Park Station is a wonderful mixed-use community with something for everyone, from shopping and entertainment to amazing restaurants, offices, apartments and townhouses. It is an integral part of the Washington DC area, and is located close to public transportation and the University of Maryland College Park campus.

Landscape architects at Parker Rodriquez Inc., out of Alexandria, VA, chose FairWeather Esplanade Collection benches for the project. The have designed many successful projects using our furniture. The landscape architects realized that FairWeather’s capability of building curved benches was perfect for the project (shown in the two photos above). They wanted to curve the benches around a water feature section of the station plaza and the Esplanade Collection was the answer.

L.F. Jennings Inc., general contractor from Falls Church, Virginia, installed the custom, curved benches this spring (2017) which were powder coated in a custom color, semi-gloss, Off -White, and fabricated with 1/2″ solid round bar fully welded to specially designed brackets.

Another request of Parker Rodriquez was to have two custom swings hoisted and hung in between columns. The Esplanade hanging swings (seen in the photo above) were modified to the landscape architect’s specification and came out beautifully. The swings appear as a highlight at the end of the water feature walkway (shown above).

Along with the Esplanade Collection, L.F. Jennings installed custom wood benches atop concrete slab walls (shown above). The wood is 2″ x 4″ Ipe with detailed miter cuts at the corners for exact, framed corner connections (shown close-up below).

Ipe is a hardwood that works well for either interior or exterior use, and in this case, exterior benches that will hold up well in the winter weather as well.  The community at Riverdale Park Station has this lovely installation to enjoy for a long time to come.

Our Thermally-Modified Wood in The New York Times

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

TerraScreen Green at Herringbone Santa Monica

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.

 

Starbucks’ Greenwall, Disney and Us!

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.

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

A Designer’s Delight: Our New Cafe & Casual Furniture Category

As we’ve been introducing site furnishings into our lineup, designers keep asking for more – more mobile, more fun, more casual!  We dipped our toe into the water last year with theBase Collection table and stools, but now that we’ve joined in partnership with Luxxbox of Brisbane, Australia, we’re diving in the deep end!

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In addition to the cool Buzz Bike Bench and the enigmatic Rune lounge, Luxxbox features a range of stools, tables, benches and casual furniture. Head designer Jason Bird creates using bright, fun colors in lightweight materials, engineered for commercial-grade use. Their product provides a whole new dimension to our range, giving us more solutions for rooftop spaces in any kind of installation.

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The South Chair (shown above) recently was a finalist for the NYC Battery Conservancy’s  “Draw up a Chair” competition.

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Brisbane’s design scene is on the upswing – Jason and Luxxbox were recently featured in a fantastic article in Travel & Leisure magazine. Read the entire article about the design scene down under here.

Pinkberry, clad in green!

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!

Revitalize – From our August email blast

The Village at Chandler Fashion Center, Chandler, AZ is a showcase of revitalization and how pots can add life and landscape to any hardscape. The Villages, surrounded by numerous restaurants and retail spaces, had seen a decline in sales. Some vacant retail spaces had become available for lease. The owner, Macerich, wanted to create an outdoor destination area that would attract crowds, and one that could be used for, and flexible enough to handle, various events from outdoor vendor markets to birthday parties.  Mike Faulkner, of SmithGroupJJR, to ok on this project to revitalize the underperforming outdoor courtyard space. 6 Space constraints and the need for continued customer access during construction was a challenge. “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 are a great way to add landscape to any space that would typically require tearing out and replacing hardscape.”  Other major design features include a new splash pad, shade parasols, outdoor lawn terraces, site furnishings and attractive night lighting. 4 Because visibility of The Villages had also been an issue, SmithGroup specifically designed a space that would stand out in a big way. They chose a bright burst of colors  – fluorescent lime and aqua. Faulkner said “Adding color to the space was a primary design goal which the client latched on to. The pots look amazing! And, allowed us to bring in variegated agaves, purple and good flowering Lantanas and Mulga trees.”  According to Mike, the client loves their new space and retailers are already scheduling outdoor events at The Villages.