LPA Inc. opens a new office in San Jose (with Tournesol pots!)

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Sustainable design architecture firm LPA Inc. just opened an office in downtown San Jose, CA.  It joins their main office in Irvine, and offices in Roseville (CA) and San Diego. They brought a pretty creative approach to converting a downtown retail space to their new offices.

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They didn’t bother to build up an entire conference room in the space – instead, they segregated the area (off to the right in the image above) with two Wilshire Rectangles (WR-721824 in white FRP). The pots appear in nearly all the images that they take of the public space – they make a great backdrop! Each pot contains three CWI-1650 self-watering container irrigation inserts to make taking care of the plants easy. How do you know what the best self-watering system is out here? Ask the designers what they use themselves!

They sent through a link to this video – just watch for the two white FRP pots in the background…

We received the following note from the associate who coordinated the build-out (from the Irvine HQ):

You have all been instrumental to the success of the project and I could not have picked a better team to produce this high quality of work. Thanks again for all your dedication and bending over backwards when the moment called for your best work.

We were glad to be a part of it. We’re already in working with the designers on new projects already!

Continued Growth with our Living Walls

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Our living green wall systems continue to grow all over the U.S., including SoCa 2014!

EPT Design  has specified 220 VGM modules to be installed June of 2014 at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices Antelope Valley. Thanks to  Valley Crest, which we know will do another great installation of this product and to  Instant Jungle  for growing in the plant product.  

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Antelope Valley (named for the herds of Pronghorn that were found here in the 1830′s), is the gateway to the western Mojave Desert.  The average temperature here is 61 deg, but that disguises lows down to 2 deg and highs up to 110 deg. It’s a dry heat, though, with low humidity year round. Due to the weather variance, this will be a challenging project and a testament to our 8″ deep VGM3-10 module . With the generous soil profile, root growth isn’t restricted to baffles or pockets, which will mean lower maintenance, less water usage and healthier plants.

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Azalea South Gate  is an exciting, one-of-a-kind project for the South Gate community of Los Angeles.  When completed the project will include national anchor tenants, local retail, restaurants and several living walls! Specified by Conceptual Design & Planning Company , the project is to be installed in phases in conjunction with the overall construction by  KPRS Builders. The VGM3-06 modules are being grown in (again!) at Instant Jungle  with a spectacular  plant palette chosen by the team at CDPC headed up by Jennifer Frederick. The grow-in will take 1-3 months in the modules before they are shipped individually to the job site where they will be assembled and hung.

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We are particularly proud of this installation as the 32-acre project replaces a current vacant site with a modern shopping center. The final plans include water features, an open plaza for community gatherings, wi-fi, and incorporates green initiatives and environmentally-friendly products.

New for 2014 – A nod to the Knickerbocker

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As we continue to look at new projects for 2014, we must recognize Time Square’s Knickerbocker Hotel. An historic Beaux-Arts building build by John Jacob Astor IV in 1906, it is currently being restored to its former glory, thanks to a $115 million makeover by new owners, FelCor Lodging Trust . The all-new Knickerbocker is slated to open in mid-2014, and it has just been accepted into The Leading Hotels of the World fold. Architect Peter Poon and Designer Gabellini Sheppard have taken the interior down to the floor plates, so it will essentially be a “brand new hotel”, except for its extraordinary, original Beaux-Arts facade, which will be preserved. A NYC landmark since 1988, the building had functioned as an office building since the 1980′s but was better known for hosting such guests as John D. Rockefeller, had its own subway entrance, and is thought to have been the birthplace of the original martini!

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Tournesol Siteworks is excited to be part of this historical restoration per the specification of Landscape  Architect, M. Paul Freidberg and Partners  of  Manhattan.   As part of this massive renovation, the Penthouse Suite will have an amazing living wall featuring our VGM modular living wall  system. As of late December, Tournesol had shipped over 500 of the 8″ deep VGM3-10 modules, which are slated to be installed on three of the exterior walls. Installation contractor,  Blondie’s Treehouse , is responsible for the module planting, grow-in and irrigation installation.

knickerbocker-hotel-construction-6-2013-thumbWhen completed, the Knickerbocker will fulfill its original purpose, and welcome back guests to over 300 guest rooms and 40 suites including the spectacular penthouse. Keep an eye out for pictures of the finished installation at 42nd & Broadway!

Looking forward to 2014

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2014 is has started off strong. We’ve entered into the new year working on a lot of great projects, and thought it might be interesting to share a few of them with you.

Tournesol Siteworks is currently working with Smith & Smith Landscape on an exterior renovation project for the Hotel InterContinental in San Francisco.

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We previously provided the hotel with planters on the upper decks when it was built in 2007.  They are now looking to make some street level improvements by adding custom planters along the west and southern street sides of the building.  Installation should commence in early 2014.

The landscape architect outlined an extensive planting area which we had to figure out how to make level, as the sidewalk slopes quite a bit. We  will be using our  VersiJack adjustable paver pedestals  to level the planters and create a skirt along the front that will follow the slope of the sidewalk and cover the pedestals.  We will also be using our  irrigation and drainage system inside the planters as the hotel is concerned about keeping maintenance costs to a minimum and minimizing water usage.

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It has been a quite design-intensive project. Smith and Smith had a great design, but on a sidewalk project like this (especially in San Francisco), the devil is in the details. We went through many of the same issues (including leveling the planters, creating a skirt, etc.), working on a similar type of project with Carducci & Assocs. at the   Grand Hyatt Union Square in San Francisco last year.IMG_1858Our recent January email blast included information on this projects as well as a series of others. If you would like to be included in our email list or received the new 2014 catalog, please us an email at  catalog@tournesolsiteworks.com.  Alternately, you can download a copy at: tournesolsiteworks.com/uploads/cmsfiles/Tournesol_Siteworks_2014.pdf .
 

Our 2014 Pricelist is ready!!

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2014 List Price Final.inddFresh off the press, our 2014 Commercial List Pricing is ready! It features our brand new VGP tray-based living wall system on the cover, which has already made a splash with our customers. It’s designed as a lower-cost living wall for residential and light commercial installations. As a reminder, the List Pricing represents the cost to the contractor for our product in the field, typically through our distribution network.

Other new products in the list include several site furnishing products – Base, Pebble, Rune, new Wilshire and Urban Collection Benches, the Buzz Bike Bench, as well as several bike bollards. In the pots & planter section, you’ll find the Wilshire Screen (a repackaging of our Wilshire Rectangle planter with the VertiGreen 3D trellis), and Zest and Harlie planters. The deck & paver section features our exciting new Boulevard structural wood tile - the domestic alternative to South American hardwoods. Finally, we have added standardized pricing for the Root Solutions root barrier products.  All in all, over 20 new items!

We can e-mail a copy to you immediately, or mail one in another week or two.  Let us know (either call 800.542.2282 or send an email to info@tournesolsiteworks.com) and we’ll get one out to you.  Our new 2014 catalog will also be coming out soon – more on that shortly!

A few more of our favorite things!

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The top 10 list continues…

6. Capella Project for Tropics North, Canada

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This is the coolest product that no one will ever see. Made especially for the Canadian security services, the custom planter/benches are 20′ long and shaped like a boomerang. We had to foam the planter walls so that they were durable enough to be sat on. It was one of the largest pieces that we have ever taken on – and they turned out fantastic!

7. Villa Marina, Marina del Rey, CA

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We loved being part of this shopping mall remodel. It is quite a striking green wall – a creative installation and a showcase for a broad pallet of plants.

 8. Patagonia, Santa Barbara, CA

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Our Northlakes Collection benches and picnic sets were perfect designed for Patagonia’s new employee picnic area. . Patagonia was especially enthusiastic about the Boulevard wood, our FSC-certified domestic replacement for environmentally-challenged but high-performing South American hardwoods. It was just right the fit for this environmentally and socially responsible company.

9. Lowes Hotel, Santa Monica, CA

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Celebrated as one of the highest vegetated walls in the Los Angeles area, we think this is truly a green wall showcase piece. Two types of grasses were used  - one long, and one that stands straight out to create a wave-like movement. The hotel likes it so much, they are planning on covering many of the other walls of the building with living wall.

 

10. The Whitney Museum, New York, NY

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We are honored to be part of the new Whitney Museum of American Art project in New York City. The building, seen here from the High Line (which we’re also a part of!), uses our VersiCell drainage panel under the greenroof on structure. This will also be part of next year’s top 10 because while we delivered the material in 2013, it won’t be open for a while!

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That’s it for 2013 – we’re proud of the projects we’ve participated on, and looking forward to even more excitement in 2014.  Change is in the air – and it feels like change for the better!

 

These are a few of our favorite things

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The end of a year wouldn’t be the complete without a top ten list – so here are a few of our favorite things (in no particular order!)

1. Rooftop garden at 1130 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago

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19 custom WS-7200 planters in metal-infused aluminum.  We love the way they put the planters in place first, then built the decking around them.

2. Barnes & Noble TWIG bench project, Palo Alto, CA

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The campus is a cool place already, but the TWIG makes an incredible statement, providing a focal point, communal meeting point, and artistic element all in one.  It’s hard to imagine another product that could have that kind of impact there.

3. The CCDC project, Washington, DC

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Every project can’t be accurately depicted with just a pretty picture! This project was immensely complicated, from a design, tooling & manufacturing standpoint. The customer pushed our timeline on several occasions, and our team responded every time. The product itself probably won’t go down as particularly memorable, although it was nearly 75 unique FRP planter liners, but our performance, in our mind, stood heads and shoulders above anything else we’d been called to do this year. We are rather proud of this one!

4. Our new color palette

Apple @ Gables Uptown Trail, Dallas, TX

Apple @ Gables Uptown Trail, Dallas, TX

Additions to our new standard colors were a big seller this year as they just can’t help but bring a smile to your face. Shown here in apple, we have also added mandarine, alarm, canary and puddle. We will be keeping our eyes out for the new color trends of 2014, and color matching is always available.

5. Everyone’s abuzz about the Buzz Bench…

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…And, how can you not be! The Buzz Bike Bench was a hit at Dwell on Design and followed that up with a submission at the Museum of Craft & Design in SF. We look forward to future collaborations with Luxxbox of Australia.

Imagine & Innovate 2014

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From our December email blast…tournesolsiteworks_jan_13

Nobody is innovating greenwall like Tournesol Siteworks! This year we’ve watched the living wall market’s continued growth – but recognized we’re still in the early days. We’ve knitted together a network of reliable installing contractors that know and understand our systems, and got tremendous feedback that has continued to drive our development efforts. Looking forward to 2014, we are excited about the new products that enhance our already market-leading VGM modular living wall, and expanding the opportunities to put greenwall in places where it wasn’t practical before. With the start of a new year, this is the time to explore your options regarding green wall installations.

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Our new sponge-like stabilized media block for VGM living wall modules answers many of the questions that customer ask. The stabilized media simplifies irrigation and leads to a more uniform moisture level as well as minimizes falling soil (even without the media bag). The unique structure ensures aeration at the plant ’s roots, which speeds grow-in and keeps plants at their healthiest. We work with one of the leading horticulturalists working with this type of material – it’s a great fit.

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The VGP is our inventive tray-based green wall system. It’s a cost-efficient solution for small to medium size walls. The installation above, at a private residence in Marin County, was set up last week and will be planted this week. VGP is perfect for residential and light commercial installations. Look for our advertisements in the most upcoming issues of LAM and Architectural Record. Explore your options!

AND, FINALLY…

Our new full-line catalog is coming!! This year’s book will be 112 pages of applications, images, product information and technical data.  We’re anticipating that it will be mailed mid-January.  If you feel like you haven’t been on our mailing list for catalogs in a while (and would like a mailed copy), please send your contact information to catalog@tournesolsiteworks.com.

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This year we’re approaching the organization of the catalog somewhat differently. In the past we’ve usually put the “newer” product groups towards the front, and put the pots & planters (still our biggest single category) towards the back. We’re now dividing things between “product you can see” (site furnishings, pots & planters, our new Boulevard wood tiles) towards the front, and the “stuff you don’t” (deck & paver pedestalsgreenwallcontainer irrigationroot barrier & drainage control) towards the back. With products grouped in six categories, it’s a lot to organize!  We hope that it will be easier to use, and would appreciate your feedback.

 

 

Re-Envisioned Marketplace

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The new Villa Marina Marketplace is establishing itself as the spot for dining, shopping and entertainment in Marina del Rey. The mid-century modern architecture plans called for a  distinctive building design that would set the center apart as the future of retail in the area.
MMP-New-Environment1Landscape Architects EPT Design, were asked by Callison to research living walls as a way to add some punch to the shopping center remodel (see the living wall sketched in the center of the illustration above). We worked with Scott Goodman at EPT Design to explore their options and after comparing our VGM Modular Living Wall System to other systems they recognized that the Tournesol VGM was the best fit for this project.
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The planting module attaches to stainless steel hanging rails, and once grown in it provides instant, complete coverage of the vertical surface. Using a broad pallet of plants gave the wall the splash of color that the architect was looking for. 
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The general contractor on the project, Deacon Constructioncontracted with  Tournesol partner Instant Jungle to provide a turnkey living wall. The modules were grown in at Instant Jungle’s Santa Ana location (shown above). This is definitely one of our favorite greenwall designs with our VGM system. The wall surrounds outdoor rooftop dining and overlooks Marina del Rey from atop Marina Marketplace as part of their 419,000 square foot multi-million dollar redevelopment.
Villa Marina left sideMarina Marketplace is currently Registered with U.S. Green Building Council and is pursuing LEED-CS Certification on portions of the project. 

Lessons from Boston – and where’s our bench??

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Lessons from Boston

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The ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO is a highlight of Fall for us. We have the opportunity to introduce new products, reconnect with customers, business partners and friends. We knew that Boston would be a good one. We stayed in the Parker House hotel (home of Boston Cream Pie!), right on the Boston Commons. Sunday morning we were able to enjoy a delightful stroll around the public gardens – inspiring landscape architecture since 1837.

Some observations:

  • Most of our customer seemed upbeat. Designers in the west and east coasts seem busy, especially with multi-family residential and hospitality work. We heard grumbling that architects are still bidding their services low!
  • Lots of interesting new designs, lot of continued competition in our markets. Established players are introducing new looks at a brisk pace. There continue to be foreign manufacturers that see the U.S. market as a great opportunity. If the past is any judge, they may not stick around.
  • Greenroof and living wall, previously considered “experimental”, are now being looked at for more conventional applications. As comfort grows with the technology, more players seem to enter the market!
  • The most crowded place in the show was the bookstore – landscape architects have not abandoned tradional print media!! Continue reading