Flotek – Houston, Texas


Flotek, a leader in drilling and chemical technologies, sought the assistance of Commercial Silk International with their new state of the art research facility. Their chemicals are made from orange extracts and the new facility was designed to feature this type technology. Flotek considered installing live orange trees, however the expense of maintenance, costly replacements and concerns about infestation made live trees unfeasible. Flotek consulted the Commercial Silk team to design and engineer the most realistic replica Orange Trees to serve as feature element of their facility.


Commercial Silk International reviewed the architectural plans and recommended a series of three hand fabricated Orange Trees to fit their space. To provide the most natural and realistic replication, Commercial Silk proposed implementing a combination of foliage and replica fruits. The Commercial Silk team reviewed and analyzed the growth patterns of real orange trees to guide the design process. Natural orange sprays have radial leaves and various sized fruits in assorted stages of growth. With budget as a determining factor, Commercial Silk International selected the closest match of ThermaLeaf® inherently fire retardant foliage with radial growth. The team hand assembled flowering blossoms to the branches and hand wired clusters of replica fruits to replicate the natural growth patterns of real orange trees. Hand sculpted trunks allowed for each tree to have unique features to aid in the authenticity. The existing planter, designed to hold live trees, included a waterproof membrane. With this in mind, the Commercial Silk team engineered the bases of the trees with enough ballast to support the large canopies without damaging the planter membrane. Additional replica fruits were placed at the bases of the trees to add to the realism. Commercial Silk International provided the design, engineering and installation.


The custom hand fabricated Orange Trees at the Flotek facility emulated a natural orange grove when installed. The trees served as a colorful educational welcome for visiting patrons with unmatched realism.

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