Designing for Life Transformation
We began this journey with a dedicated group of individuals. We are architects, designers, entrepreneurs, professionals, priests and, overall, believers. Our initial task was to “create a space for life transformation and love in action”. Quickly, we found that Balinese philosophy and culture would be our most valuable guides in this process. We set about forming and developing strong relationships with the Gods of the island, with its people, and with the tropical environment in which we work.
To support our architect and Master Planner, Ketut Arthana, some of the first consultants on the team were a Pedanda (local priest), several paranormals and, of course, residents of Baturning. The Master Plan for Puri Ahimsa includes Balinese Vastu concepts (akin to feng shui) and our first preparations consisted of complex Balinese ceremonies to adjust the use of the landscape from one of basic farming to one of international collaboration. We also undertook several collaborative team building excercises informed by corporate practice. We followed this up by inviting a team from the local university to conduct a full flora and fauna study and educate us on the original inhabitants of the site.
One of the first lessons we learned was that most of what we needed was already here on the island. Matching the aesthetic sense of architect Pak Arthana with the technical skill of local expert Arief Rabik (of PT Indobamboo) we built strong and beautiful structures from local Bamboo Petung (Dendrocalamus asper). We decorated these with minimally processed materials, adding stone walls, grass roofs and ponds. We were careful to add structural elements only where there was a clear need or use. The results are the contextually subtle, open air structures that have earned their initial brief as a “non-architectural architecture”.
After discussing the achievements of the Green Building era, we set about equipping our designed structures with the most efficient modern amenities available. Custom LED lights made in the USA and arranged by an Italian lighting designer illuminate the space, while highly efficient biomimetic fans support the natural airflow allowed by passive cooling design. We celebrate the abundant water resources of the Abiansemal region by drawing our water from an on site well, recycling and storing grey and rainwater, and discouraging bottled water by providing drinking water on site. The final step to creating Fivelements Bali was to re-seed the land with native and naturalized species including Balinese ceremonial, medicinal and decorative plants sourced from Bali and neighboring islands.
A Human-Centered Culture of Wellness
But 5 years after opening our doors to the public it is abundantly clear that the most important element of this beautiful space called Puri Ahimsa is the people that populate it. The stories of guests, staff and neighbors alike have perhaps done even more to shape this space than the technical drawings of our design team. It is the discovery and articulation of this human element in design and in operations that has come to define the Fivelements process and allowed us to set our sights on a creating a “human centered culture of wellness”.
It is clear to me now that Fivelements has become an early adopter of a paradigm that will eventually become the norm in wellness, destination travel, and even hospitality as a whole. The opportunity to innovate on this front and influence its outcome is inspiring, exciting and humbling all at the same time. As we gain experience in sustainable technologies, social innovation, and wellness techniques we will be creating a toolkit for conducting business in a healthier, more enjoyable and more sustainable world marketplace.
This space that is Fivelements was designed for “learning to respect and love life.” And guided by Balinese philosophies, we have spent the past five years doing just that.
Fivelements is a new innovative Wellness Group bringing design-minded
sustainable lifestyles to locations and organisations around the globe. The
restults are timeless space, which marry the traditional wisdom of the past with
the modern culture of rapid innovation.
Gove de Puy, Envirionmental Liaison