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Summertime — Time to Enjoy the Outdoors Downtown at The B.O.B.

July 21, 2016
July 21, 2016

LiveWall® Green Wall Enlivens the Atmosphere of the Sky Patio and Freshens up the Menu at Bobarino’s Restaurant

The pages of the calendar have turned to summer. It is time to get out and enjoy the outdoors, right here in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. Where exactly? Out on the Sky Patio at The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Avenue NW. Easily accessible through Bobarino’s on the second floor, the Sky Patio features a double-sided green wall that surrounds guests with greenery and provides fresh ingredients for the food they enjoy.

Outside LiveWall at the B.O.B.

Enhanced Ambiance

According to Greg Gilmore, chief executive officer of the Gilmore Collection, addition of the green wall transformed the ambiance of the Sky Patio. The green wall adds natural beauty and dampens traffic sounds, making the patio more pleasant and relaxing.

“Our living wall on the Sky Patio is a vivid symbol of our commitment to sustainability and support of the local environments where our restaurants are located,” said Alice Jasper, director of sustainability, The Gilmore Collection. “It greens up the exterior and interior of the rooftop patio, contributing to the beautification of downtown and making the patio more inviting from the street below.”

Green Wall Construction

The green wall was constructed in August 2015 with the LiveWall® system from LiveWall, LLC, the green wall subsidiary of Hortech, Inc., Spring Lake, Mich. the double-sided green wall totals 608 square feet. The three exterior sections (48 inches in height) are attached to the outside of the fencing that surrounds the patio. Facing out to the street, these sections frame the Sky Patio on three sides with flowering annuals and perennials. There are five interior sections (45.5 inches in height), three on the inside of the perimeter fence, two on the back wall of the building. In addition to flowers, the interior sections include vegetables and herbs used in the kitchen.

Green Wall on the Sky Deck at Bobarino's in Downtown Grand Rapids Michigan

Local Food Sourcing

“Local sourcing of ingredients is one of our main sustainable hospitality practices,” said Barbie Smith, The Gilmore Collection’s gardener. “With the green wall at the B.O.B. and the gardens at our other restaurants, we grow ingredients right near the kitchens where your food is prepared. You cannot get much more local than that.”

“The green wall is a vertical garden with a variety of edibles. What chef wouldn’t want a garden with fresh herbs and produce right in their restaurant?” said Mick Rickerd, chef at Bobarino’s. “We utilize the herbs in all our everyday dishes and the vegetables in daily features. Our mixology team incorporates fresh basil, mint, lemongrass and thyme into special summer cocktails.”

This year, in addition to the herbs, the green wall is growing varieties of kale, Swiss chard and rainbow carrots. Call 616-356-2000 to find out what is in season. Better yet, head over to The B.O.B. to enjoy the greenery, colorful flowers, and menu items created using organically grown, sustainable produce that is so fresh it is grown right near your table.

Interior patio LiveWall at The B.O.B.

On “Meatless Mondays,” try a vegetarian special prepared with fresh ingredients from the living wall. This summer until September 9, 2016, enjoy 2 for 1 entrées during dinner hours Monday through Thursday. The B.O.B. also offers live music on the Sky Deck every Wednesday starting at 6:00 p.m.

The Gilmore Collection Restaurants

Locally owned and operated, The Gilmore Collection provides West Michigan with a variety of high quality restaurants, nightclubs, and entertainment venues. Gilmore Collection Restaurants retain a unique bond with the communities where they are located through historic architecture, great hospitality, creative culinary expertise and locally sourced products. The Gilmore Collection has developed a reputation for delivering tremendous food, beverage, entertainment, atmosphere, and hospitality at each of its locations. The company also owns Gilmore Catering — a full-service on- and off-site catering company, and is in the process of building a 2,400-seat music venue annex of The B.O.B., which is scheduled to open early 2017. You can follow Gilmore on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. For more information, visit www.thegilmorecollection.com.

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Wasserman’s Flowers & Gifts Adds LiveWall System to Enhance Customer Experience

June 29, 2016
June 29, 2016

New Living Wall Addition on Renovated Building

Muskegon, Mich. Wasserman’s Flowers & Gifts, Muskegon’s oldest business and Michigan Floral Association’s 2016 Florist of the Year, unveiled a new living wall system, which was installed and planted earlier this month.

The 8’ tall living wall was constructed with the LiveWall® system from LiveWall, LLC, the green wall subsidiary of Hortech, Inc., Spring Lake, Mich. The planted wall faces Vanderline Street where visitors entering the shop pass it on the route from the parking lot to the main entrance.  Currently, the wall features a blend of pink and purple wave petunias.

In 2013, siblings Troy Wasserman and Angie Nelund purchased the business from their father, Dennis Wasserman, and took over as the fifth generation to run the flower shop.  As the new owners of a business which has operated since 1880, they looked for ways to refresh the shop and add appeal for all ages.

“We look for things to supply that are unique or unusual.  We want the experience for our customers and our neighbors to be fun,” said Troy Wasserman.

“LiveWall adds to this experience.  It’s different and exciting.  We consider it a focal point of our exterior.”

In addition to seeking out new, unusual, and hard-to-find gift items, the Wassermans renovated to modernize the building and make it more inviting to tourists and local residents.  Renovations included a landscaped patio complete with porch swing, shaded seating areas, and the living wall.

“We envisioned a living wall to complement the addition of exterior black and white prints that highlight our rich history of quality and service in this community,” said Troy Wasserman.

“The site shows the different sides of our business which tie into the different sides of West Michigan.  The gray stucco shows our industrial side, while the stone and woodwork show the craftsman side, and the living wall organically connects them.” he explained.

Dave MacKenzie, president of Hortech and LiveWall, assisted Wasserman’s in planning the green wall installation for the flower shop. Troy Wasserman approached MacKenzie after disappointment in performance of an alternate living wall system, which did not sustain the plants as expected.  Ultimately, Wasserman chose to dispose of the other system, and then invested in the locally manufactured and grown LiveWall system for its ease of planting and design.

“We discussed various plant options and chose the petunias to start,” said MacKenzie.  “They perform well in hot summer heat and are very colorful.  As the seasons change, we will swap plants for a fresh look.”

“We may change the plants up to 3 times this summer,” said Troy Wasserman.  “We want people to be surprised and awed by the green wall – whether it is their first or hundredth time seeing it.”

Green wall near entrance of flower shop.

Sidewalk view - Wasserman's Flowers & Gifts

Wasserman's Flowers & Gifts - Living Wall

Flower and Gift Store

View of Muskegon Lake from swing on patio of flower and gift shop.

Wasserman's Flowers & Gifts Sign - Oldest Business in Muskegon, Michigan

The Wassermans are also considering other ways to use living walls in their business.  In the future, they may offer planted walls on wheels as scenery for weddings.  These products, called LiveScreens, provide a rentable floral display that can be transported to and from venues for instant, beautiful backdrops.

Wasserman’s Flower and Gift Shop is one of the first businesses encountered traveling southwest on Lakeshore Drive.  The owners are very passionate about their community, and excited to bring more people to the neighborhood.

“We want this to be a place where tourists and people living in the community stop in to enjoy the beautiful view of Muskegon Lake.  We hope for more people to just drop by and do a little work on their lap top under an umbrella or read a book on the swing of our patio,” he added.

Wasserman’s Flowers & Gifts also has seven upcoming Tuesday patio nights, which have free music, great atmosphere and good food.  Guests may bring their own beverages or purchase Tex-Mex and BBQ from Bone Ends or select Ice Box brand ice creams and specialty sodas from Wasserman’s.

Food Truck Tuesdays are held from 4PM to 8:30 PM on July 5, 19, 26 and August 9, 16, 23 and 30 at 1595 Lakeshore Drive, Muskegon, Mich.

About Wasserman’s Flowers & Gifts

Wasserman’s Flowers & Gifts has proudly been serving the Muskegon area since 1880. Wasserman’s is Muskegon’s oldest family owned business, and the oldest business in Muskegon. Five generations have taken care of Muskegon’s floral needs for 136 years through dedication to customer satisfaction and outstanding service.  The shop offers an enormous selection of the freshest and highest quality cut flowers, a very large assortment of beautiful roses, excellent blooming plants, foliage plants and planters. Tropical flowers are shipped direct from Hawaii and are always available.  Fifth generation owners and managers Angie and Troy Wasserman were named young florists of the year by the Michigan Floral Association and were recognized by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce recognized as Agents of Change and as finalists for this year’s Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurs of Excellence.  Wasserman’s also received The Celebrated Service award from Jack Loeks Theaters and is featured before every single movie played at The Cinema Carousel and the Plaza Theaters in Muskegon.

About LiveWall®
Designed with a healthy regard for plants, LiveWall® is the patented living wall system that achieves simplicity and sustainability in harmony with nature. LiveWall is the result of four years of R&D by the professionals who created LiveRoof®, the superior green roof system. LiveWall green wall solutions are engineered with horticultural and structural features specific for indoor and outdoor environments. LiveWall supports plants as nature intended — roots growing down, stems and leaves growing up. With unsurpassed versatility to grow a diversity of plant types, LiveWall transforms ordinary walls into inspiring, thriving vertical landscapes that are simple to install and easy to maintain. For more information, call 877-554-4065.

Unique Two-Sided Green Wall Welcomes Patients and Staff at the Spectrum Health Medical Group Heart and Vascular Center

May 23, 2016
May 23, 2016

LiveWall® Installation Inspires Heart Health

Grand Rapids, Mich.  May 23, 2016 — When patients arrive at the Spectrum Health Medical Group Heart and Vascular Center on Bradford Street N.E. in Grand Rapids, Mich., they are welcomed by a living, thriving symbol of heart health. The Center’s green wall features a distinctive design of three heart shapes expressed in dark red foliage within a background of green plants.

For the Center’s clinical and support staff, as well as the patients, the green wall offers an unexpected extra. It was designed and installed as a freestanding, two-sided structure. The side facing the building is a vertical garden with a variety of vegetables and herbs.

“As a growing, changing emblem of healthy hearts, the heart planted wall invites patients, their families and our staff into the Center,” said Sarah Chartier, sustainability program manager, Spectrum Health. “The vertical herb and vegetable wall invites them to think about healthy eating and the sources of our food.”

Measuring 5’4” high by 20’ long, the green wall was constructed in June 2015 with the LiveWall® system from LiveWall, LLC, the green wall subsidiary of Hortech, Inc., Spring Lake, Mich. The planted heart side faces out towards the parking area and features perennials, with Heucheras (Coral Bell) forming the three red hearts. The vertical edibles side grows a variety of vegetables (including tomatoes, green peppers, Swiss chard, kale, and leeks) and herbs (such as oregano, basil, rosemary, and mint.)

The decision to install the green wall came out of broader conversations about sustainability, local sourcing of food, and promoting healthy eating habits. Spectrum Health has two community gardens, one at its South Pavilion facility and the other at the Spectrum Health Continuing Care Center. “In the area at the entrance to the Center, there was limited space for additional landscaping,” said Bruce De Vrou, project manager, ground services, Spectrum Health Hospitals. “As a vertical landscape feature, a green wall was more practical than a garden.”

Dave MacKenzie, president of Hortech and LiveWall, assisted Spectrum Health in planning the green wall installation for the Center. MacKenzie suggested a two-sided, freestanding wall. The idea for the heart design was the inspiration of Kathleen Nickerson, R.N., charge nurse, clinical team, cardiovascular medicine, Spectrum Health Medical Group.

“In 2013, I learned from the LiveWall ArtPrize installation, ‘Back to Eden,’ that a planted wall can be an art piece,” she said. “I wanted our green wall to have a heart — a design that would convey a living, healthy heart.”

“The three-heart design takes advantage of the length of the wall,” explained MacKenzie. “The hearts are visible all year from the parking lot and sidewalk leading up to the Center, even in winter when the plants are dormant.”

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heart-green-wall

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Clinical and administrative staff enjoy the green wall in summer. They sit outside during work breaks and at lunchtime at picnic tables and benches placed on the lawn near the wall. They also pick vegetables and herbs to take home.

“The response from everyone has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Chartier. “We have also experienced an unanticipated benefit. The area around the green wall provides a gathering place where staff from different departments meet, interact, and connect.”

“The LiveWall is bigger and better than what I thought we could achieve with an ordinary garden,” said Nickerson. “I love to go out to our garden wall. I get outside, feel the breeze, see the plants. It is a brief respite in my busy day,” said Nickerson. “And I can pick a tomato to put in my salad for lunch. There is nothing more beautiful than a sun-ripened tomato on the vine.”

Greenroofs.com selected Spectrum Health Heart and Vascular Center’s living wall for their project of the week on May 23, 2016.

About Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, ambulatory and service sites; more than 3,100 physicians and advanced practice providers, including 1,200 members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a health plan with about 654,000 members. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 23,400 employees. The organization provided $283 million in community benefit during its 2015 fiscal year. Spectrum Health is the only health system in Michigan to be named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems® by Truven Health Analytics for 2015.

Learn more about LiveWall.

The B.O.B. Brewery and Restaurant’s Living Wall Garners Local Media Attention

May 11, 2016
May 11, 2016

With spring in the air, LiveWall owners are replanting their vertical gardens with new crops of annual edibles such as kale, chard, mint, and basil. And, the locals are noticing.

Yesterday, LiveWall delivered plants to the B.O.B. (Big Old Building) which will be used to enhance their dishes.

Fox 17 WXMI featured the Grand Rapids, Michigan building replanting in today’s morning news.

The plants also help to make diner experience more enjoyable by naturally cooling the Skydeck on hot days and providing a peaceful and relaxing escape from the busy streets below.

The Gilmore Collection made their Skydeck at the B.O.B. so much more inviting with a living wall system.

Does your restaurant have an outdoor space needing an upgrade?  Consider transforming patios, decks or beer gardens with living plants for better diner experience, increased revenues, and even reduced food costs.  Learn more about growing edibles in green walls: Vertical Gardens.

Vertical Gardens featured at 2016 Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan

May 6, 2016
May 6, 2016

The annual Tulip Time festival takes place each spring in Holland, Michigan, timed just as the spring-blooming bulbs open their flowers.  In its 87th year, the area boasts over 5 million tulips.  And, this year, they have even started adding the flowers to vertical surfaces!  Using the LiveScreen system, they have added hundreds more to this total in a completely new application for the festival – a living wall.

Located at the Tulip Time office on 74 West 8th Street, the vertical tulip gardens will be on the front patio through the festival.  Learn more about the festival at TulipTime.com and join the festivities from May 7-14.

 

The LiveWall seriously smells as good as it looks here at the #tuliptime patio!

A photo posted by Tulip Time (@tulip_time) on

 

LiveWall® Green Wall Enlivens a Peet’s Coffee & Tea Store at an Upscale Mall in San Diego

May 5, 2016
May 5, 2016

Planted green walls offer a variety of benefits. They create appealing year-round beauty with seasonal colors, flowers and scents. In indoor applications, living walls purify the air and improve air quality by reducing airborne dust and particulates. They also absorb sound to reduce indoor noise. Through the natural process of evapotranspiration, green wall plants release water vapor that cools indoor air in summer and brings healthful moisture to dry, heated spaces in winter. They also provide social benefits — experiences of tranquility, respite and inspiration.

“Retailers also have bottom-line reasons for installing green walls. The unique effect of natural vegetation has been shown to draw shoppers into stores,” said Dave MacKenzie, the horticulturalist who invented LiveWall. “According to Terrapin Bright Green, LLC, an environmental consulting and planning firm, there is research evidence that consumers buy more in stores with carefully situated vegetation.”

The installation of a green wall in a Peet’s Coffee & Tea in San Diego illustrates how retailers are paying attention to the benefits of green architecture. The LiveWall® Green Wall System was used to construct a living wall, completed in February 2016, at a new Peet’s outlet at the Westfield Plaza Bonita Mall, located in San Diego’s South Bay area 15 minutes south of downtown. 

“Most customers enter the store through the patio from the parking lot. As they come into the store, the green wall is an unexpected, pleasant surprise,” said Russell E. Myers, AIA, REM Architects, Inc., the architecture firm that designed the store. “Inside, it establishes a buffer between the busy service area and the seating areas.”

LiveWall greens up two sections of the interior walls in the 1,700-square-foot store. The large section is 12 feet wide by 5.5 feet high. The smaller section is 6.5 feet wide by 5.5 feet high. After getting their coffee or tea, customers can relax with a natural view of tropical plants selected for variety in variegation, shades of green, colors (including yellow and red tones), texture, and shape. 

“A Peet’s in San Francisco added a green wall as an interior décor element. We thought a green wall would be a beautiful feature in our new store at Plaza Bonita,” said Steve Mora, president, MCS Consolidated Group, Inc., a Peet’s licensed partner with four stores. “It’s just like living art on the wall.”

Project Summary Outline

  • Name of Project: Peet’s Coffee & Tea (Westfield Plaza Bonita)
  • Project Address: 3060 Plaza Bonita Rd, National City, CA 91950
  • Installation Date: Completed February 2016
  • Type of Building/Facility: Retail (store in a mall)
  • Type of Installation: Indoor
  • Green Wall System: LiveWall® Indoor Living Wall
  • LiveWall Wall Planter Color: Black
  • LiveWall Planters: 52 planters (each 16 inches long)
  • Number of Plants: 150
  • Plant Palette: Indoor/Tropical
  • Size in Sq Ft: 100 sq ft (two sections, 6.5-ft wide x 5.5-ft high and 12-ft wide x 5.5 ft high)
  • Slope in Degrees: 90
  • Wall Orientation (outdoor): N/A
  • Access/Visibility: Publicly accessible and visible

Project Team

  • Architect: REM Architects, Inc.
  • General Contractor: Sierra Pacific General Contracting
  • Plant Selection, Installation and Maintenance: Greenleaf Interior Plant Solutions
  • System Manufacturer: LiveWall, LLC
  • System Distributor and Consultant: Florasource, Ltd.

Living Walls Have Been Shown to Improve Employee Productivity

January 5, 2016
January 5, 2016

Willow-Street-Indoor-Living-Wall

A new study has shown that there is a link between a greener office environment and higher cognitive function.  Employees in these work environments showed better scores in crisis response and strategy development.  To learn more about the impact a greener work environment can have read the full article here.

Why are Healthcare Providers Buying Living Walls?

January 5, 2016
January 5, 2016

Long-Beach-VA-Hospital

The aesthetic, environmental and financial benefits that green walls provide appeal to most building owners, and the social and physical health benefits of green walls make them especially attractive for healthcare patients.  New studies reinforce existing research indicating that patients exposed to views of nature heal faster.  Shorter recovery times means happier patients and potentially reduced costs as beds are freed faster for new patients.  See the article []

Study Shows Link Between Improved Student Performance and Increased Exposure to Green Space

January 5, 2016
January 5, 2016

A recent study conducted by a group of researchers has revealed a link between student’s exposure to green space and performance in standardized testing for both English and Math. The study covered a six year time period from 2006-2012 and showed that the more exposure students had to green space the better they performed on tests.

The study also revealed that during the peak of the spring growing season this affect was at its greatest. Read the study here.

Downtown-Market-March-Indoor-Retouched

Melbourne Australia Takes Proactive Approach to Green Roofs and Vertical Gardens.

July 29, 2015
July 29, 2015

The cities of Melbourne and Victoria Australia have released their Growing Green Guide, a comprehensive guide to green roofs and living walls. City officials released this guide in an effort to combat the Urban Heat Island Effect and dwindling green space within the city of Melbourne. A recent study showed that between 1988 and 2009 the amount of green space in Melbourne dropped from 20% to 13.6%. Temperatures are rising within the city as a result of this diminished green space.

The Growing Green Guide gives building owners and architects the resources they need to ensure successful applications of green roofs and vegetated walls. The guide is comprehensive, covering evidence for the benefits of green roofs and vegetated walls, technical guides for proper installation and maintenance, and case studies of applications within the city. You can download the full Growing Green Guide.

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