The B.O.B. Sky Patio
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The B.O.B. Sky Patio on the outside sky deck; Photo Courtesy of LiveWall.Project Name: The B.O.B. Sky Patio
Year: 2015
Owner: Gilmore Collection Restaurants
Location: Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Living Wall
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 608 sq.ft.
Slope: 100%
Access: Accessible, Open to Public
Submitted by: LiveWall

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Director of Sustainability: Alice Jasper, The Gilmore Collection
Greenwall System: LiveWall®
Gardener: Barbie Smith, The Gilmore Collection
Greenwall Maintenance: The Gilmore Collection
Bobarino’s Chef: Mick Rickerd
Carrots in the B.O.B. green wall; Photo Courtesy of LiveWall.Sky deck plantings close-up; Photo Courtesy of LiveWall.Kale and greens in the B.O.B. green wall; Photo Courtesy of LiveWall.
Located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the Sky Patio at The B.O.B. is a landmark destination for dining and entertainment and a prime location in western Michigan to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. Accessed through Bobarino’s, the second floor restaurant, The B.O.B. Sky Patio features a double-sided green wall that surrounds guests with greenery and provides fresh produce for the kitchen.

The B.O.B. is an acronym for Big Old Building and the 70,000-square-foot, four-story, red brick building was constructed in 1903 as Judson's Grocery warehouse. It stood vacant for decades before The Gilmore Collection saved it from demolition and began its transformation. Opened in 1997, The B.O.B. offers multiple venues, including a brewery, bars, restaurants, comedy and nightclubs, and a rooftop sky patio.

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.

“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. Grand Rapids, Michigan. “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.”

Installed in August 2015 using the LiveWall system, 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 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. In addition to flowers, the interior sections include vegetables and herbs used in the kitchen.
The B.O.B. Sky Deck Patio; Photo Courtesy of LiveWall.The planted B.O.B. Sky Patio; Photo Courtesy of LiveWall.
“Local sourcing of ingredients is one of our main sustainable hospitality practices,” said Barbie Smith, The Gilmore Collection’s gardener. “With the green wall, we incorporate hyper-local ingredients in a way that makes farm-to-table very visible.”

The double-sided B.O.B. Sky Patio green wall consists of 236 sage-colored LiveWall Wall Planters. The plant palette boasts perennials, annuals, herbs, and vegetables, and plant varieties grown include:

Interior annuals: coleus, SunPatiens impatiens, and vinca vine;
Interior perennials: bigroot geranium;
Interior herbs/vegetables: parsley, basil, mint, lemongrass, chives, and varieties of kale, Swiss chard, and rainbow carrots;
Exterior annuals include lemon grass and New Zealand sedge.

“The green wall is aesthetically pleasing for our guests and functional,” said Mick Rickerd, chef at Bobarino’s. “What chef wouldn’t want a garden with fresh herbs and produce right in their restaurant?” Herbs and vegetables grown in the LiveWall are used in all of their everyday dishes. And their mixology team incorporates fresh basil, mint, lemongrass, and thyme into special summer cocktails.

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

The B.O.B. Sky Patio is a fun entertainment destination where guests can enjoy the greenery, colorful flowers, and menu items created using organically grown, sustainable produce - freshly grown right near patrons' tables. "Every May through September, our customers will enjoy menus created using a variety of organically grown and sustainable produce from The B.O.B.'s Live Wall. With help from LiveWall (Spring Lake, MI) we've been harvesting fresh produce, grown right on site, since 2013. Our "living wall" also provides us with opportunities to work with outreach organizations, local schools, food co-ops, and neighborhood associations. Harvest times vary; please contact us directly for more details on what's in season," (The B.O.B.).

The B.O.B. Sky Patio green walls not only enliven the atmosphere of the Sky Patio and freshen up their menu at Bobarino’s Restaurant, but also add natural beauty and dampen traffic sounds, making the outdoor patio even more pleasant and relaxing.

Additional thumbnail photos:

The B.O.B. Sky Patio inside with diners; Photo Courtesy of LiveWall.Colorful perennials on The B.O.B. Sky Patio; Photo Courtesy of LiveWall.The B.O.B. Sky Patio on the outside sky deck; Photo Courtesy of LiveWall.The B.O.B. Sky Patio LiveWall close-up; Photo Courtesy of LiveWall.Diners enjoying the cool B.O.B. Sky Patio; Photo Courtesy of LiveWall.
The B.O.B. Sky Patio is located at 20 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503; visit their website, and specifically The B.O.B.'s LiveWall page. Watch the :17 video Live Wall from The Gilmore Collection on Vimeo. Visit Bobarino's at The BOB's Facebook page. Watch the 2:33 The B.O.B. Sky Patio - Project of the Week 8/22/16 video from Greenroofs.com on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube. Greenroofs.com Project of the Week video photo credits: All courtesy of LiveWall, The Gilmore Collection, Bobarino's at The BOB, and Edison Light and Fuel Co. | HistoryGrandRapids.org from the Grand Rapids City Archives.

See the project profile from
LiveWall. Read the September 21, 2016 Double-Sided Green Wall Stands Out as a Signature Symbol of Sustainability for the Gilmore Collection, By Amber Poncé and David Aquilina on Greenroofs.com and read/watch the May 11, 2016 Living wall installed at The B.O.B. by Bob Brenzing from FOX17.

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