Eco-engineers of sustainable developments
Our approach and design framework makes sustainable development accessible and achievable to leaders who have a desire to create regenerative and net zero projects for a better future.
Tell us your story – how did you get here?
Growing up in Bali in the 80s and 90s, we were blessed by the island’s beauty; a natural playground that swept from the fisherman-lined shores, through spanning rice terraces, up to the holy heights of Mount Agung.
After completing university studies and working in Europe, we (Maitri and Nino) returned to Bali in 2013, back to a home that we did not entirely recognise. Mass tourism had spread across the island, with development and urbanisation swallowing the quiet coastlines and rice fields that used to be cornerstones of our childhood. It was just as Joni Mitchell said, “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”.
Between 2005 and 2010, tourism numbers in Bali had doubled, and by 2014, they tripled. It was clear that Bali had allowed mass tourism through its doors, but local infrastructure and government policies were unprepared. Bali had surpassed its carrying capacity. The environment and local communities were under immense pressure.
So, we started out in 2013 by improving existing properties and saved them between 40-50% of their resources. This made clients interested in implementing sustainable solutions into the construction of new properties. This is where positive impacts can really be made, as environmental-sensitivity and resource-consciousness can be embedded into the design, construction, and operation of developments from the ground up. Mantra was finally founded in 2014 by us: Sean Nino, Maitri Fischer and Wayan Lam.
Since 2017, Mantra has helped start new projects with sustainability at its core. For us, this opens up the potential to implement innovative technologies, analyses and systems, such as: renewable energy systems, off-grid hybrid energy systems, efficient hot water systems design, rainwater harvesting, storm water recharging, green building certification, building envelope heat gain analysis, waste management systems and sustainable infrastructure design.
By 2020 our Environmentally Sustainable Design ESD service has become a holistic design consulting package that brings together all of our experience and expertise, integrating our knowledge of environmental systems design, engineering, green building certification, efficiency audits and retrofitting. Our approach and design framework makes sustainable development accessible and achievable to leaders who have a desire to create regenerative and net zero projects for a better future. Our principles of ESD ensure that sustainability is prioritised, cost effective, budgeted for, properly engineered, and successfully built into any new development.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
From our humble beginnings of research and audits, to optimising and improving building engineering systems, we have cultivated in-depth knowledge of what is needed for future-focused destinations. Our Environmentally Sustainable Design ESD services are the culmination of our experiences over many projects, creating what we believe is an incredibly comprehensive and effective approach to environmentally-friendly development.
Our work has shown to reduce water and energy consumption by 40%, and waste-to-landfill by 90%. We are now developing net-zero energy buildings, carbon neutral construction, zero-groundwater buildings and more. We are proud that our work has been able to reduce the impacts of development of our beautiful island home, and that our clients have also become advocates for sustainable design.
What impact have you made in Bali?
We did our last environmental impact tally in 2021, and these are the direct impact savings from Mantra Engineered properties since 2015, which is when we started keeping an annual tally:
Electricity savings: 58,379,128 kWh
Water savings: 1,603,294,000 litres
Financial savings: USD 7,792,886
Carbon reduction: 66,259 tonnes of CO2e
Materials recycled: 6,710 tonnes
In 2018, we started an NGO that builds MRF Material Recovery Facilities, and we have now grown a team, capable of growing more facilities and village partnerships by themselves. By 2022, the combined facilities that we helped build around the region of Gianyar, Bali had recycled 24,747 tonnes – this is equivalent to the waste Jakarta’s entire city produces in 4 days.
What does 2022 look like for you?
We are looking for storytellers and media specialists that can help us grow our reach and help us curate highly engaging content that lets people realise and understand how to successfully design and build environmentally sustainable destinations.
We just finished the concept designs and design development for Batavia PIK, Jakarta’s new ocean boardwalk, and we are currently working on acquiring some new clients in Malaysia. We have a group of new advisors joining us, namely Neil Thomas (Atelier One) that did Gardens by the Bay, Piet Van Zyl (a senior Earth Check Pioneer), Bradley Gardner (Begawan Foundation) and David Decobert (Disney, Warnerbros, Dubai, Shanghai’s BIM – Building Integrated Management and Engineering Specialist)
What do you love most about Bali?
Weekend getaways. Either in the cold mountains where we can drink hot chocolate and snuggle up in cosy clothes, or beach getaways around the Bukit.
In your opinion, what’s the most inspiring design space in Bali?
We have been working on several projects with Maximilian Jencquel of SJ Studio Jenquel, and one of them is a house for Gildas and Masaya, the founders of Maison Kitsune. It is turning out to be very beautiful and inspiring in many ways.
We personally like going on hikes and walks around the island where you will find incredible walks through the subak – a 1000 year-old designed space that is entirely unique to Bali.
Who is your Local Legend and why?
Sayan Gulino the owner and CEO of Waterbom Bali – he runs the most sustainable waterpark in the world. Also Arief Rabik – the bamboo forestry advocate working on building 1000 bamboo villages across Indonesia.
Both of them have always served as an inspiration to us and have been part of our journey since the very beginning when we started our company.