Tag Archives: Downtown Collection

Rockin’ the Rooftops in Emeryville!

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Along the San Francisco Bay, sits the small city of EmeryvilIe, squeezed between Oakland and Berkeley. The city has risen from an industrial wasteland to a city encompassing major retailers, life science companies, fine dining, shopping, theaters, and pleasant neighborhoods. Emeryville’s economic growth has increased the need for multi-family development. One recently developed apartment community is located at the corner of 64th Street and Christie Avenue. The 190-unit, 5-story residential  complex was completed in 2014. We visited the project two years later to show you Tournesol Siteworks’ pots and planters highlighted on the rooftop, amenity deck and entrance to the building.


The property was creatively designed by Steinberg Architects, who collaborated with landscape architects from The Guzzardo Partnership, both San Francisco-based firms. Guzzardo specified Tournesol Siteworks products for the project which required multiple planters from a few of our collections. Golden State Landscaping installed the planters and filled them with lush greenery and succulents for the tenants to enjoy.

From our Wilshire Collection, Guzzardo used 51 FRP fiberglass square planters – 24 in the color Royalty, 13 in Ivory and 14 in a custom color “Oxide Red.” For the texture, they chose the smooth, conventional finish of T-0. The red planters gracefully enhance (as shown below) the space on the rooftop.

IMG_0173 copy

Also from our Wilshire Collection, they specified 38 of our Fiberglass FRP rectangular planters – 12 in the color Pitch (texture T-0) and 26 in Shadow. The rectangles in Shadow were placed along the perimeter of the roof deck and produced in the T-1 finish, which enhances the durability of the planter and helps to resist scratching.

From our Urban Collection, Guzzardo chose 17 square planters – eight in the color Pitch and nine in a custom color “Traffic Yellow.” The yellow planters have a T-0 smooth finish and were placed at the building’s entrance, offering a bright, colorful entry (as shown below).


Our Downtown Collection FRP Fiberglass round planters, displayed in the photo below, were also ordered in “Oxide Red” (the same color used above) and Shadow with the T-1 texture (33 and 13, respectively).  The distinctive shapes were placed along the amenity deck and walls of the complex.


Emeryville is rocking with this creatively designed, multi-family residential apartment building and we were thrilled to be part of such a large installation. It’s nice to revisit this project after a few years, to know the tenants are happy and to see that everything still looks great!

Custom Hearth Warms the Northwest

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Lately, the northwest has been jumping with projects and installations! Tournesol Siteworks has been involved with quite a few; one in particular is in Seattle’s South Lake Union district. This is a happening neighborhood near the Amazon campus that is full of commercial properties. The Radius, new apartments at 400 Boren Street, is a seven-story complex with over 280 units, and runs half of a city block at 43, 200 square feet. With more apartments now, the area is the epitome of the live, work, play Seattle lifestyle.


Architecture and landscape architectural firm Weber Thompson, from Seattle, WA, created an amazing building containing private spaces, upper level terraces, large windows and an “E” shape design to the back of the building allowing light and air flow. On the rooftop and amenity decks on the third, eighth and ninth floors, Weber Thompson specified our Wilshire Collection  Fiberglass FRP round, square and rectangular shaped pots and planters in various dimensions. Weber also specified square and round lightweight GFRC Downtown Collection pots on the eighth and ninth floor amenity decks, installed by Compass Construction, Kirkland, WA.


For the rooftop on the 9th floor, we engineered a custom hearth in lightweight GFRC per design specifications (as you can see in the photo above). Dimensions of the custom hearth are massive at 130″L x 64″W x 20″T, with 72″L x 25.25″W x 8.5″T recess in the center, including six 2″ x 12″ air intake. The center of the burner recess is hollow, so they used our adjustable VersiJack support pedestals and VersiJack Base Slope Correctors for easy access to conduit and electrical equipment, and to conceal these services below the hearth. The VersiJack pedestal‘s broad, stable base can support more weight than any other pedestal system.

On the ground floor, near the main entrance to the building, Weber Thompson wanted to plant a tree but didn’t want to exceed certain height limits, due to the windows, and the soil depth needed for the tree roots. Their solution was to place our Wilshire round planter inside a cast-in-place concrete planter (as shown in the photo above) to allow the tree’s soil depth to increase yet not exceed the window height requirements.

Weber Thompson created a wonderful structure on this architectural and landscape design project and we were happy to be involved. The neighborhood is booming and the beauty of this project speaks for itself.

TWIG comes to Redwood City

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There is nothing quite as gratifying as doing work that goes into your own hometown. I live in Redwood City, CA, a smallish town in the middle of the San Francisco peninsula. Just recently a large new office building opened downtown. Box (the cloud storage company) is the major tenant.  I took these photos last weekend when walking downtown to see a movie. This plaza is just down the street from the theater.


On the plaza in front of Box, several of our TWIG benches have been installed by Shooter and Butts landscape contractors . The project was designed by Korth Sunseri Hagey architects, and our friends at the Guzzardo Partnership (landscape architects). In addition to these three benches on grade, there are 10 more on the upper podium level, as well as 8 of our 60″ diameter Downtown Collection lightweight concrete pots. For the on-grade TWIG benches, Guzzardo specified our specially-made stainless steel skate stops. Our partners at Street & Garden Furniture in Australia would be pleased to see the complete installation!


Redwood City is a rapidly redeveloping part of the peninsula – in addition to Crossing 900, there are many apartments and condominium complexes being built. We’ve had products specified in many of them. Downtown Redwood City is right on the train line into San Francisco and, up to this point most, development has been going south towards Palo Alto and Silicon Valley. We’re finally catching up – with a vengeance. I’m proud of the work we do, and it’s fun to be able to point out projects we work on to friends, especially when you can see the results. They’re always surprised with what I do for a living!






GFRC concrete fits this multi-family residential project

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We wanted to share a project in our own backyard that we particularly like.


Ambassador Residences in Emeryville, CA

Designed by Cliff Lowe Assoc., this was one of those projects that was conceived prior to the downturn, then mothballed for several years. We are glad to have been able to be part of the revival. Multi-family residential communities are the backdrop for a lot of the work that we do. They are demanding in terms of traffic and abuse, so demand something that wears as well as it looks!


Installed by our friends at Cohen Landscape (a division of Celtis Group), the project features our lightweight GFRC concrete containers, including the Downtown and Wilshire Collections, in a variety of sizes and shapes.

To create a visually interesting display, the design called for the Downtown pots in 24″, 36″ and the enormous 60″ sizes, as well as a large number of Wilshire rectangles 72 x 24 x 24. All of the pots were completed in our acid-etch finish in the shark color.


The containers have a natural stone feel that fit well with the modern design aesthetic. It’s a look and feel that can’t be replicated in painted fiberglass – the reason that we manufacture in both FRP and lightweight concrete.


While providing durability and value, these light-weight planters hold up to the rigors of an high-traffic, multi-family landscape. A great example of what we do every day!

Revitalize – From our August email blast

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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.

The Town of Dedham – Plant, Preserve, Promote

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Dedham, originally called Contentment, was founded in 1635, when the General Court granted land south of the Charles River to twelve men. The fertile grassy meadows of the Charles River provided an ideal spot for the new settlement of Contentment, now Dedham.”  Today it continues to grow thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers known as The Friends of Dedham Civic Pride.


This non-profit group is “dedicated to improving the overall physical and aesthetic appearance of Dedham.” This years’ projects include sidewalk and traffic landscaping, sidewalk curb appearance and durability, addition of new bicycle racks and a tree planting and parks improvement program.

John Haven, a town resident and a landscape architect with Keith LeBlanc Landscape Architecture, stepped up to help Dedham Civic Pride with these major improvements. In a volunteer role with the organization, they worked closely with local boards, agencies and civic organization to develop, plan and implement the landscaping projects.


Thank you, John, for including Tournesol Siteworks in the plan! Throughout town a variety of our Downtown collection pots were used including 24″ and 36″ Rounds and 36″ Bowls. Shark color was specified in a P1 texture. This lightly sanded finish helps the planters stand up to pedestrian traffic. It is less likely to show scuff and dirt marks which keeps down maintenance labor and cost. Each of the planters also includes a CWM Modular container irrigation system that has helped keep the new plants healthy and thriving in the recent Boston heatwave. Our irrigation systems are available for any pot size, and, again, help keep down maintenance and water costs by providing more efficient watering.


The City of Dedham is just finishing up a 3 year, 6 million dollar streets cape renovation, and the last thing missing were planters and site furnishings. Our planters proved to be just the right scale for the project. Thanks to LeBlanc Landscape Archtiecture for recommending us partly based on their firm’s past experience with Tournesol Siteworks on other commercial projects.


Congratulations to Dedham Civic Pride on completion of a great project and special thanks goes out to those involved in the “planter project:”

Dedham Square Circle– Amy Haelsen
Dedham Civic Pride– Sue Hicks and Amy Black
Town of Dedham– Jason Mammone and Joe Flanagan

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


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

Barnes & Noble TWIG 2

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

CCDC Production (4)

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…

NWCD2 - 27-2

…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.

Something to brighten up your day

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Sometimes a graceful planter is all you to brighten up your day or a cityscape. The City of Norwalk, CT wanted to bring some color to the business district and make it more inviting for people to visit.


Designed by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, it was a rather straight-forward project. The agency choose what they wanted from visiting our website, and then worked with our inside sales staff to flush out the details. They choose over 50 planters from our Downtown Collection. This classic collection, with distinctive curves, soft corners and tall, elegant proportions adds a modern flair to any project. In round, square and rectangular shapes, the variety of sizes are useful for flower and color displays.


Colorful Containers by Popular Demand

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We get a lot of requests for pots, planters and trellis products finished in unique, project-specific colors. We can only offer so many as standard, so we color match on a regular basis. Some of these colors eventually find their way to our blog, advertisements, or on our websites. Slowly but surely, we get more and more customers asking for specific non-standard colors.

Due to their popularity, we recently added several of these colors, plus a few more, to our standard color pallet for all our FRP fiberglass pots.  Shown first at Dwell on Design this year, the new “standards” have gotten terrific response!


They are all available now, at no additional cost. We’re still happy to match colors for specific projects, and we always welcome color requests and suggestions from our clients. Read more >>