Green Walls Extend a Green Welcome to Restaurant’s Guests by Amber Ponce and David Aquilina

July 10, 2017 at 1:59 am

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

LiveWall® Green Walls at Brome Burgers & Shakes in Dearborn, Michigan Express the Brome Brand, Bringing its Commitment to Sustainability to Life

Photos Courtesy of LiveWall® and Brome Burgers & Shakes

Attached to an existing wall or freestanding, erected indoors or outdoors, green walls transform unadorned walls into vertical gardens. Restaurants, hotels and resorts are finding that green walls can boost their brands and help build business.

“Indoor green walls make interior spaces more appealing and relaxing and improve indoor air quality,” said Dave MacKenzie, president of Hortech, Inc. (Spring Lake, Michigan) and LiveWall, its eco-friendly green wall subsidiary.

“As an element of design, they can serve as living representations of a commitment to sustainability.”

A special location

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

Brome Burgers & Shakes opened in 2015. Brome’s is winning a loyal following for their ethically sourced, creatively prepared, simply delicious, and reasonably priced food.

“We are all about sustainability, green living, wholesome food, and self-awareness about the environmental impact of our choices,” said Sam Abbas, founder, Brome Burgers & Shakes.

“We want everyone who visits our restaurant to experience the core values of our brand in every aspect of our operations.”

Brome’s commitment is evident in the restaurant’s location. Abbas chose to refurbish a corner building that was constructed as a retail store.

“Every decision we made about the project reflects our responsibility to the environment,” he said.

“We hope to inspire our customers, suppliers, contractors and competitors to appreciate the values that inspire us and express them in the ways they live, do business, cultivate food, and enjoy it.”

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

An adaptive re-use design developed by the Hallarsan Group (Detroit, Michigan) renovated the long vacant 3,700-square-foot space and created a modern, open, light-filled restaurant.

The sustainable design preserved the cedar trusses of the original 15-foot-high ceilings.

During construction, the original concrete floors were revealed and refurbished. The tables were custom fabricated out of reclaimed wood from dilapidated structures in Detroit, and much of the furniture was sourced locally.

The idea of using green walls as a focal point of the interior was developed during a design brainstorming session.

The green walls stand out

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

Completed in June 2015, the Brome Burgers & Shakes green wall installation is one of the most prominent design elements in the restaurant.

The green wall took a large, blank wall area that would have otherwise just been painted or wallpapered and brought it to life.

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

Plant Palette

The installation totals 309 square feet, divided in two sections each 16 feet long by 9 feet 10 inches high. A mix of six different tropical plants, selected because they thrive indoors, grow on the wall.

The plant palette features Pothos, Epimedium, and Tradescantia Red.

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

In addition to the featured green walls, the interior includes a front window planter. Its greenery is reflected in the glass top of the adjoining counter, which has eight seats.

System selection, installation

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

Before all of the different plants were installed.

Bell’s Landscape Services, Inc. (Wixom, Michigan), which has provided commercial and residential landscape construction and maintenance in Southeast Michigan for more than 38 years, recommended, sold, installed, and maintains the LiveWall green walls.

They won a Gold Award for Creative Landscape – Green Initiatives from the Michigan Green Industry Association for the project.

“We got into green wall installation and maintenance as a way to grow our business,” said Marcy Bell, president, Bell’s Landscape Services, Inc.

“I did our research on the market for living architecture and on various green wall systems. We decided to go with LiveWall. It is the most complete system, the best engineered and the most hospitable to plants.”

Bell’s introduced LiveWall to Abbas. He then did his own due diligence on alternative systems.

He agreed that LiveWall’s design and ease of maintenance made it a good choice.

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

Mike Bell, chief executive officer, Bell’s Landscape Services, commented that the system is well designed and assembles part by part in a logical fashion following the installation process explained in the installation guide and schematics.

The first step is installation of the vertical strips that mount to the building wall and to which the other components are attached. The vertical strips also establish the necessary air space between the wall and the system.

Next, horizontal aluminum rails with conduits for the tubes bringing water to the integrated irrigation system, are mounted to the vertical strips.

For indoor installations, LiveWall uses drip stake assemblies, which inject water into the growing medium. Molded plastic modular planter boxes fit into place on the rails.

Finally, separate liner inserts which have been pre-planted slide into the planter boxes.

“Maintenance is straight forward,” said Mike Bell.

“Every six weeks, we clean out any die-back, trim the plants (especially the ones in the lower rows of the modular planters), check soil moisture, and inspect and adjust irrigation.”

Results and reactions

“The green walls propel our brand forward,” said Abbas.

“They create an atmosphere in which it becomes more than serving and enjoying great burgers and shakes but also about making a positive impact on everyone’s lives.”

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

People in Michigan appreciate green spaces that bring nature to them. When people step into Brome Burgers & Shakes they receive a “green” welcome even on cold, grey days.

“We see the positive response every day,” said Abbas.

“Customers at tables beneath the green walls taking selfies, posting photos on Facebook, Snapchatting with friends as they enjoy their food.

The green walls are a focal point.”

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

Abbas has plans to expand, growing Brome Burgers & Shakes to ten locations in Michigan and then on to Chicago.

“We plan to integrate green wall systems into all our future locations.”

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina


~ Amber Poncé and David Aquilina

Publisher’s Note: The Brome Burgers & Shakes Green Walls are featured as Greenroofs.com’s Project of the Week for July 10, 2017.  See its Project Profile in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Amber Poncé

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

Amber Poncé is the Business Development Manager for LiveRoof Global, LLC. Since 2006, Amber Ponce has helped to expand the LiveRoof Global network of professional horticulturists and growers to an industry leading supplier of green roof systems. In her role as business development manager, she has trained dozens of professionals in technical aspects of green roofing. She has actively participated in the development of industry testing standards and building codes, and currently sits on the policy and growing media committees of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. She is an accredited Green Roof Professional with seven years hands on experience in green roofing – including experience with growing media formulation, plant selection and production, shipping logistics, installation and maintenance. Amber has helped participate in the development of standards related to green roofing and worked with a team of engineers to coordinate the first ever full-scale wind uplift test on green roofs.

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.

Contact Amber Poncé:
616.935.1964
AmberP@LiveRoof.com

David Aquilina

Green Walls Extend Green Welcome Brome Restaurants Guests Ponce Aquilina

David Aquilina, Strategic Storyteller (www.linkedin.com/in/davidaquilina), is a corporate communications consultant and freelance writer.  David makes his home up on the edge of the northern prairie in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Contact David Aquilina:
612.716.5628;
davida@strategicstoryteller.com
StrategicStoryteller.com

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week July 10, 2017: Brome Burgers & Shakes Green Walls

July 10, 2017 at 1:46 am

Greenroofs.com Project Week July 2017 Brome Burgers Shakes Green Walls

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 7/10/17

GreenroofandGreenwallProjectsDatabaseLogo

Brome Burgers & Shakes Green Walls
Dearborn, MI, USA
309 sq. ft. Greenwalls

Project of the Week Mini Description & Details

Two living walls of cascading, soft tropical plants, floor-to-ceiling windows and clean, white subway tile set the stage for Brome Burgers & Shakes. The fresh-causal restaurant, open since fall 2015, offers ethically-sourced, 100 percent organic, grass-fed beef burgers and other creative non-GMO-certified American cuisine. Set in downtown Dearborn, Michigan on bustling Michigan Avenue among shops, bars and eateries, Brome pledges sustainable business practices that increase efficiency and reduce waste.

An adaptive re-use design developed by Hallarsan Group, cedar trusses were preserved from the original 15-foot-high ceilings and shelves are made from wood that was pulled from the Dearborn railroads when the Dearborn Amtrak Station was being renovated. The two interior LiveWall® green walls bring a sense of the outdoors indoors. Founder Sam Abbas says, “The green walls took a plain surface and brought it to life. They make the restaurant more inviting while expressing our commitment to sustainability.”

Greenroofs.com Project Week July 2017 Brome Burgers Shakes Green Walls

The Brome Burgers & Shakes green wall installation has two sections, each 16 feet long and 9 feet 10 inches high. In total, there are 168 16-inch sage-colored LiveWall modular planters with integrated irrigation and a mix of six tropical plants including Pothos, ‘Devil’s Ivy’, ‘Bishop’s Hat’ and Red Wandering Jew. Bell’s Landscape Services recommended, sold, installed, and maintains the LiveWalls. The living walls of cooling green and reddish plants are front and center within the airy, publicly accessible dining room and are highly visible throughout the restaurant.

Greenroofs.com Project Week July 2017 Brome Burgers Shakes Green WallsGreenroofs.com Project Week July 2017 Brome Burgers Shakes Green Walls

Brome Burgers & Shakes is growing to ten locations in Michigan and may expand into Chicago. According to Abbas, all locations will feature green walls. He also feels the green walls propel their brand forward, creating an atmosphere in which it becomes more than serving and enjoying great burgers and shakes but also about making a positive impact on everyone’s lives.

Publisher’s Note: Read the July 10, 2017 Guest Feature Green Walls Extend a Green Welcome to Restaurant’s Guests by Amber Ponce and David Aquilina.

Greenroofs.com Project Week July 2017 Brome Burgers Shakes Green Walls

Year: 2015
Owner: Sam Abbas
Location: Dearborn, MI, USA
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Living Wall
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 309 sq.ft.
Slope: 100%
Access: Accessible, Open to Public

Greenroofs.com Project Week July 2017 Brome Burgers Shakes Green Walls

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:

Restaurant Adaptive Re-use Design: Hallarsan Group
Modular Greenwall System: LiveWall Indoor
Greenwall Installation & Maintenance: Bell’s Landscape Services, Inc.

Greenroofs.com Project Week July 2017 Brome Burgers Shakes Green Walls

More Info

View the Brome Burgers & Shakes Green Walls PROJECT PROFILE to see ALL of the Photos and Additional Information about this particular project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Project of the Week Video Feature

Watch the Brome Burgers & Shakes Green Walls Project of the Week Video below or see it on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week 7/10/17 video photos courtesy of LiveWall, Brome Burgers & Shakes website and Facebook page, and Hallarsan Group.

Did we miss your contribution? Please let us know to add you to the profile.

Would you like one of your projects to be featured on Greenroofs.com? We have to have a profile first! Submit Your Project Profile.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof (or Wall)!

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher & Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit Host

Register now and join us online for our 2017 Virtual Summit through December, 2017.  Round #2 coming soon!

Greenroofs.com Project Week July 2017 Brome Burgers Shakes Green Walls

With Seven Green Walls, the Exterior of Golden 1 Center Comes Alive – by Amber Ponce and David Aquilina

March 13, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

Green Walls Contribute to Golden 1 Center’s Re-definition of the Relationship between an Indoor Sports Arena and its Neighboring Urban Environment

All Photos Courtesy of LiveWall®

Green walls transform ordinary walls into vertical gardens. The transformation from commonplace wall to vertical landscape brings a living, organic element to a building. Whether installed indoors or outdoors, green walls are visually appealing and inviting, inspiring and healthful, and beneficial to the environment.

Golden 1 Center, the brand new home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, is the world’s first LEED Platinum certified indoor sports venue. The Kings set out to build the world’s most sustainable indoor arena, establish new standards for energy efficiency and water conservation, and re-define how a downtown arena relates to its surroundings. As fans approach Golden 1 Center, they see living symbols of the Kings’ commitment to sustainability: seven green walls totaling 4,800 square feet and featuring 5,400 plants.

The typical sports arena in a dense downtown area is an imposing and introverted monolith walled off from its environment with high exterior walls looming over the streetscape. Unconnected from their surroundings, most arenas are lifeless except on game days.

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

Designed by AECOM, the preeminent designer of NBA arenas, Golden 1 Center was envisioned to be very different. It celebrates Sacramento’s community values, climate and lifestyle with an innovative indoor-outdoor design that re-imagines how an arena can relate to the streetscapes around it. It creates a new heart for downtown Sacramento that expresses the city’s identity and values, reconnects neighborhoods, and revitalizes the area.

“We reversed the typical introverted arena with a design that reflects the region and connects to the city,” said Rob Rothblatt, exterior design lead, AECOM.

“The sunken bowl design, with seats below street level, fits Golden 1 Center into the site rather than dominating over it. The large glass hangar doors make the interior visible from the outside. The doors open out onto the plaza, which serves as a welcoming and active space — not just on game days but year-round — with civic art, outdoor searing, shade trees and rain gardens.”

“Unlike any other arena, the beautiful Golden 1 Center is the catalyst for the region, built on the foundation of the city’s ideals and values, a purposeful effort to think about our environment and resources, and profoundly impact the economy in Sacramento and beyond,” said Chris Granger, president of the Kings.

“The entire project is a model of sustainability. Our green walls are a prominent feature and represent the fulfillment of our vision.”

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

Completed in September 2016, the green walls were constructed with the LiveWall® system from LiveWall, LLC, Spring Lake, Michigan.  The seven sections of green wall include 2,700 LiveWall modular planters. They are planted with 18 different types of plants and 5,400 plants in total. All flowering plants bloom in shades of purple, the Kings’ signature color.

Design Inspiration and Integration

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

“The inspired idea was to make the building look as if it rests on the green wall, rooting the arena in the landscape and extending the landscape from the new plaza up to the walls of the arena itself,” said James Haig Streeter, landscape design lead, AECOM.

“As people come up to the arena, it appears to emerge from the landscape, and they see vibrant bands of green that change with different sections displaying different plants based on the varying patterns of sun and shade around the building.”

The design and materials of the building’s façade evoke the granite and grandeur of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The green walls are positioned beneath Golden 1 Center’s distinctive reflective aluminum panels, which are etched with three-inch modernist leaf designs based on photographs of a leafy street in East Sacramento. The “Million Trees” panels with hundreds of thousands of leaves convey the sense of billowing valley oak tree canopies on the arena’s exterior. Depending on the time of day and position of the sun, the shadows on the leaves look different, and in combination with the building’s ceramic frit glass, the arena takes on different colors of silver and gold tones. As integrated elements, the glass, metal panels, green walls at the base of the building, and the landscape of the surrounding plaza (including a walnut grove) make Golden 1 Center come alive.

Green Wall Solution

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

In evaluating green wall system options for the project, AECOM considered several critical success factors. “We wanted a proven, tried and true system with well-engineered components that could scale up,” said Haig Streeter.

“It was important for the green wall design to provide adequate soil depth and volume to protect the plants and keep the walls from drying out in the heat of summer.

“The LiveWall planter modules are designed and look like window boxes. That makes it a system with features and functions the owners of the team could understand,” he said.

“For future maintenance, no system could be easier because you can switch out the module liner inserts with different plants.”

The Sacramento office of BrightView, one of the nation’s leading landscape services companies, installed the green walls. The installation includes 2,700 LiveWall planter modules. They attach to a unique aluminum rail and mounting track system, which is affixed to the structural wall and secures the planters and integrated irrigation components.

Plant Selection

For commercial and public applications, landscape architects prefer green walls that are pre-grown. Florasource Ltd. (San Clemente, California), an independent horticulture supply company and LiveWall distributor, provided 5,400 plants in the planter inserts so that the plants would be hearty and ready for installation into the modular planters in September 2016.

AECOM and Florasource selected 18 different varieties of plants. In order to create an authentic vertical landscape, they chose plant species that are native to the area, or which have aesthetic qualities similar to native plants. To minimize supplemental irrigation requirements, all the plants are appropriate for the climate. When mature, many of the selected species will grow large enough to cover much of the green wall components. The exact plant mixes for individual green wall sections account for variations in prevailing patterns of sun and shade around the arena.

Shade is valued, prized and beneficial in Sacramento because of the climate. The north side of the building is shaded. That section of green wall has shade tolerant plants, and that part of the plaza features honey locust trees for shade and shade-loving plants at grade. The plant palette for the green wall thus complements the plantings in the landscape to take advantage of the shade and increase the amount of shade, and the horizontal and vertical landscape elements harmonize.

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

On the west side the foothills terrace area of the plaza is full sun. The green wall there is planted with aromatic spices, including sage and rosemary. The plants create an appealing aromatic sense around and within the space. On the south side of L Street, the plaza is above the level of the street, and there is a retail area along that section of the street at the base of the building, another way to connect the arena and enliven it at street level. The plant mixes on those walls emphasize ferns and grasses.

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

“Sacramento is full of wonderful green spaces, and our three-acre public plaza that wraps the arena had to be one of them,” said Granger.

It is all coming together at Golden 1 Center. The tree canopies and plants are filling in. The green walls bring the landscape up from the plaza to the arena, and the green wall plants in the context of the Million Tree panel design make the arena come alive in unity with its surroundings.

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce AquilinaSeven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina


~ Amber Poncé and David Aquilina

Publisher’s Note: The Golden 1 Center LiveWall is featured as Greenroofs.com’s Project of the Week for March 13, 2017.  See its Project Profile in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Amber Poncé

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

Amber Poncé is the Business Development Manager for LiveRoof Global, LLC. Since 2006, Amber Ponce has helped to expand the LiveRoof Global network of professional horticulturists and growers to an industry leading supplier of green roof systems. In her role as business development manager, she has trained dozens of professionals in technical aspects of green roofing. She has actively participated in the development of industry testing standards and building codes, and currently sits on the policy and growing media committees of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. She is an accredited Green Roof Professional with seven years hands on experience in green roofing – including experience with growing media formulation, plant selection and production, shipping logistics, installation and maintenance. Amber has helped participate in the development of standards related to green roofing and worked with a team of engineers to coordinate the first ever full-scale wind uplift test on green roofs.

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.

Contact Amber Poncé:
616.935.1964
AmberP@LiveRoof.com

David Aquilina

Seven Green Walls Golden 1 Center Comes Alive Ponce Aquilina

David Aquilina, Strategic Storyteller (www.linkedin.com/in/davidaquilina), is a corporate communications consultant and freelance writer.  David makes his home up on the edge of the northern prairie in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Contact David Aquilina:
612.716.5628;
davida@strategicstoryteller.com
StrategicStoryteller.com

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out as a Signature Symbol of Sustainability for the Gilmore Collection, By Amber Poncé and David Aquilina

September 21, 2016 at 5:04 pm

Commitment to Sustainability is a Defining Element of the Gilmore Collection, Western Michigan’s Premier Hospitality Enterprise

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Gilmore Collection owns and runs 14 restaurants, two nightclubs, a comedy club, and a full-service catering operation.  The company has developed a reputation for delivering wonderful food, beverage, entertainment, atmosphere, and hospitality at each of its locations in Western Michigan.  The Gilmore Collection also includes the Redstone Inn, a historic turn-of-the-century style Rocky Mountain resort in Colorado.  Gilmore Collection restaurants are known for their intimate bond with the communities they serve through preservation of historic architecture, marvelous hospitality, creative culinary expertise, and local sourcing of products.  An authentic commitment to sustainability is a hallmark of the Gilmore Collection.

“There is nothing more important to me than Gilmore Collection’s commitment to sustainability. The pivot in our corporate culture toward being even more eco-friendly is clear and, more importantly, genuine,” said Greg Gilmore, chief executive officer. “We look at every facet of our business practices to ensure we are acting responsibly, in a timely manner, and with laser focus on making tangible changes today and as we move forward into the future.”

Historic preservation and restoration

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

The foundation of the company’s commitment to sustainability is its tradition of saving and restoring historic buildings and turning once-vacant structures into thriving landmark destinations that enrich and enliven local communities and neighborhoods.  For example, the Kirby House (Grand Haven, MI) is located in a historic hotel, which dates back to 1873 when it opened as the Gildner Hotel.

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

Nick Fink’s Saloon, the oldest tavern in Grand Rapids was established in 1888.  Today, it thrives again while retaining its historic character after its acquisition and makeover by the Gilmore Collection.

Pasture to plate since 1978

Long before local sourcing of food became a trend in the restaurant business, it was a long-established practice for the Gilmore Collection.  Its menus feature fresh products from more than two dozen regional farms, orchards, bakeries, and other local producers.

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

The Gilmore Collection takes local sourcing to a whole other level: hyper-local.  They plant and harvest produce at on-site gardens.  The garden at the Blue Water Grill is almost an acre in size.  Mangiamo!, an Italian-inspired restaurant located in a restored 19th century mansion, has a quarter-acre garden.

The Gilmore Collection’s most recent innovation in hyper-local sourcing, green walls, bring gardens right into their restaurants.  Green walls, also called living walls, are structural systems that partially or completely cover wall surfaces with plants.  Attached to an existing wall or freestanding, installed indoors or outdoors, green walls provide growing media and support for plants on the face of a wall.

“Green walls transform plain walls into vertical gardens. With flowering plants and greenery, they make the settings where they are installed more pleasant and relaxing. Green walls can also be used for herbs and vegetables,” said Dave MacKenzie, president of LiveWall, LLC (Spring Lake, MI). “They are an attractive design and sustainability feature for restaurants, hotels and resorts.”

The B.O.B. and its green wall

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

Before the green wall.

The B.O.B. is the Gilmore Collection’s most ambitious project, and it exemplifies their commitment to sustainability.  The B.O.B. is an acronym for Big Old Building, and it is big.

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

Judson’s Grocery can be seen on the right side of the Edison Light and Fuel Co. Photo source: HistoryGrandRapids.org from the Grand Rapids City Archives.

The 70,000-square-foot, four-story, red brick building was constructed in 1903 as the Judson Grocery warehouse.  It stood vacant for decades before the Gilmore Collection saved it from demolition and began its transformation into a landmark hospitality destination in downtown Grand Rapids.  Opened in 1997, The B.O.B. offers multiple venues, including bars, restaurants, comedy and nightclubs, and the rooftop Sky Patio, which is accessible through Bobarino’s restaurant on the second floor.

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

The 900-square-foot Sky Patio was not truly complete until 2015.  That is when its signature green wall was installed.  The distinctive double-sided green wall surrounds guests with the beauty of nature and provides fresh ingredients for the food they enjoy.

“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, making the patio more inviting from the street below, and enhancing the dining experience of our guests.”

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

The green wall was constructed in August 2015 with the LiveWall® system.  The two-sided green wall totals 608 square feet.  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 and two on the back wall of the building.

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

“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., we grow ingredients right near the tables where our guests dine. You cannot get more local than that.”

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

In addition to flowers, the interior sections include vegetables and herbs used in the kitchen.

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

“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? A green wall makes it practical,” said Mick Rickerd, chef at Bobarino’s. “We utilize the herbs in all our everyday dishes and the vegetables, like Swiss chard and rainbow carrots, in daily features. Our mixology team incorporates fresh basil, mint, lemongrass and thyme into special summer cocktails.”

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

The ownership experience

“A green wall is a cool and clean way of growing plants in a restaurant,” said Smith.

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

Having a vertical garden inside a restaurant requires some management and maintenance.  In addition, having the right kind of system for a restaurant is essential.  The LiveWall system installed at the B.O.B. features integrated irrigation.  Well-designed, unobtrusive irrigation that runs on a timer and without disturbing food service operations is essential.

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

LiveWall is a modular system with plastic planters that attach to its rails.  The plants grow in inserts, specially designed plastic boxes that drop into, and can be removed from, the planter modules.  This design is ideal for herbs and vegetables, which are planted annually.  Annual blooming flowers and edibles are started in the inserts at a greenhouse to prepare them for the summer season.  As soon as the risk of frost has passed, a restaurant green wall can be ready to go.

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

Smith visits the green wall once a week.  She checks the moisture level of the growing medium and adjusts the irrigation system.  She also checks the growth of the plants, paying careful attention to pinching off the herbs so they do not flower.

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

“Every week, I talk to the chefs and bartenders and let them know what is ready to use,” she said.  “They pick the herbs and vegetables themselves when they need them.”

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

The Gilmore Collection is continuing to expand on-site gardening for hyper-local sourcing of menu ingredients. “As we continue to support and express our commitment to sustainability, our goal is to have gardens or green walls at each of our locations by the end of 2017,” said Jasper. Two new green walls have already been installed at other locations, and more are in the planning stage.

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

“The living walls and gardens are long-term projects. We do not expect any immediate business results, other than they are beautiful and create a great ambiance, particularly at the Sky Patio at The B.O.B.,” said Gilmore. “I do believe that the ambiance has resulted in increased revenues.”

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

~ Amber Poncé and David Aquilina

Publisher’s Note: The B.O.B. Sky Patio was featured as Greenroofs.com’s Project of the Week on August 22, 2016.  See its Project Profile in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Amber Poncé

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

Amber Poncé is the Business Development Manager for LiveRoof Global, LLC. Since 2006, Amber Ponce has helped to expand the LiveRoof Global network of professional horticulturists and growers to an industry leading supplier of green roof systems. In her role as business development manager, she has trained dozens of professionals in technical aspects of green roofing. She has actively participated in the development of industry testing standards and building codes, and currently sits on the policy and growing media committees of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. She is an accredited Green Roof Professional with seven years hands on experience in green roofing – including experience with growing media formulation, plant selection and production, shipping logistics, installation and maintenance. Amber has helped participate in the development of standards related to green roofing and worked with a team of engineers to coordinate the first ever full-scale wind uplift test on green roofs.

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.

Contact Amber Poncé:
616.935.1964
AmberP@LiveRoof.com

David Aquilina

Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out Signature Symbol Sustainability Gilmore Collection

David Aquilina, Strategic Storyteller (www.linkedin.com/in/davidaquilina), is a corporate communications consultant and freelance writer.  David makes his home up on the edge of the northern prairie in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Contact David Aquilina:
612.716.5628;
davida@strategicstoryteller.com
StrategicStoryteller.com