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Building a place for Art and Conservation in the Rainforest

Meet Mark and Nico

Born in 1966 in Frankfurt, Germany, Mark developed an early, intense interest in drawing and painting. In his early twenties, he gravitated toward Munich and set up shop in an abandoned liquor factory on an island in the heart of the city, where he turned his attention to sculpture, especially metal sculpture and performance art. But while he concentrated on his art career in Europe, he also found himself getting sucked more and more into his other passion, surfing.


Nico was born 1965 in Munich, Germany, and was drawn to the healing arts from a young age. She was nurturing a dual-career path, as both homeopathic healer and owner of a Yoga studio - but, as her concern for the health of the planet and its people began to grow, she found herself thinking more about Jungle living. The wealth of indigenous knowledge of tropical plants was a big lure, as was the dream to go to the place where the natural world was still intact - and where she could work to keep it that way. 

During a trip in 2000, the couple found property on the Osa Peninsula, just down the beach from one of the area's four primary surfing breaks. "The timing was just perfect," says Nico. "It seemed as if someone, some higher power, just took us and put us there."


They began to build with collected driftwood and harvested bamboo. They built a small home, then other small shacks and an outdoor yoga platform. Soon they started offering Yoga classes to the public, Ticos and foreigners alike. All the while, Mark was developing his architectural design skills and building techniques, with a goal of creating structures entirely framed with bamboo.


Before long, the couples’ burgeoning development became their eco-lodge "Ojo del Mar," the Eye of the Sea. Nico and Mark were - and remain - determined to build and operate Ojo del Mar with an ethical consciousness: a mindfulness for human dignity, aesthetic beauty, and appreciation for the natural environment. Still thriving after nearly two decades, it remains grounded in Nico's holistic approach to caring for the environment, the local community and the individual-- whether through creating balanced, clean meals drawn from her gardens, sharing Yoga and other paths to healing, or - her great love! - talking passionately about rainforest life with her guests.

Creating a Smaller Footprint

Fed by her love of cooking, driven by a passion for conservation, and informed by her studies in integrated medicine, Yoga and other forms of healthful living, Nico is committed to sharing her knowledge and love for the Jungle through a range of creative wellness and conservation practices.

Her book "Living in the Jungle: A Handbook of Sustainable Living on the Osa Peninsula" is a guide for building with ethical consciousness and living lightly amid the Osa's - and the Earth's - robust yet fragile ecosystem. 

Bamboo as Artist's Material

As his expertise with Bamboo architecture grew, Mark began hosting local and international workshops, and incorporating the material in his artistic practice. He has become well known for his enthusiasm for Bamboo dwellings, as well as large scale Bamboo Installations. His work has been presented at the Museum of Modern Art, and the Nacional Museum in Costa Rica, and in numerous exhibitions and installations in Europe and America. For more on Mark’s work with Bamboo, as well as his performance and visual arts work, visit his portfolio.

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