B.O.B., Grand Rapids, Mich.
The B.O.B.’s 900-square-foot Sky Patio was completed in August 2015 when its signature green wall was installed. The distinctive double-sided green wall surrounds guests with 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,” says 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.”
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 1/2 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.
“Local sourcing of ingredients is one of our main sustainable hospitality practices,” says 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.”
“What chef wouldn’t want a garden with fresh herbs and produce right in their restaurant? A green wall makes it practical,” adds 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.”
Green Wall Manufacturer: LiveWall
The B.O.B. is the Gilmore Collection’s most ambitious project, and it exemplifies the company’s commitment to sustainability. B.O.B. is an acronym for Big Old Building; the 70,000-square-foot, 4-story, red brick building was constructed in 1903 as a 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. The B.O.B. offers multiple venues, including bars, restaurants, comedy and nightclubs, as well as the rooftop Sky Patio, which is accessible through Bobarino’s restaurant on the second floor.