Our Creation Story...

Motz Studios is a Minneapolis-based wellness provider of evidence-based, therapeutic, forest bathing walks. I founded the company in 2018.  The walks are based on the Japanese tradition of Shinrin Yoku, which emphasizes engaging all of your senses in an immersive, meditative experience of nature. 

We come to nature for spiritual, mental, and physical nourishment at the pivotal times in our lives.  Yet we also need ongoing nourishment that strengthens our daily resolve.  I am excited to bring my 20+ years of design expertise in landscape architecture to this forest bathing guide practice, helping demonstrate how nature has been a place of respite and transformation throughout history, and how we might use the lessons we glean from the forest in our everyday lives.  


Motz Studios also draws on my international expertise in Japan and the U.K.  Fellowships in both cultures deepened my study of design, history, and spirituality, and their connection to nature.  The UK’s tradition of “thin space”, a spiritually powerful place where the veil between heaven and earth dissipates, resonates in landscapes like Stonehenge, and across the breadth of Scotland.  Japan influenced my philosophy with its focus on Shinto, the sacred essence that manifests in multiple forms: rocks, trees, rivers, animals, places.  Influential facets of simplicity/complexity are woven throughout Zen Buddhism, as are those of Wabi-Sabi (finding beauty in the transience and imperfection of the world).  Biophilic design is strong in the spiritual traditions of Japan, with the extensive use of wood and stone in temples and shrines.  It is also found in their gardens, which are designed with deep intention, incorporating biophilic design patterns such as mystery, dappled light, and prospect/refuge. 


Stoicism and other philosophies are also a key component to my work that makes it unique. I have always tended toward the philosophical approach to inspiration and finding joy. Weaving this facet into Motz Studios' forest experiences to share with others motivates me.

I also have expertise in campus and urban master planning.  I have won key leadership awards including the H.W.S. Cleveland Award for Leadership Potential (given to emerging leaders in landscape architecture), and the Lob Pine Award (given for exemplary leadership and mentorship for the landscape architecture community over an extended period), as well as many project-specific awards. 


All these elements have coalesced over the course of my practice and are now influencing the ethos of Motz Studios. 


About the Team

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David Motzenbecker is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide and a trusted, award-winning Landscape Architect who has been practicing since 2001.

He is the Founder of Motz Studios Forest Bathing Experiences. He holds a terminal MLA (Master of Landscape Architecture) degree from the University of Minnesota’s College of Design, and is Certified through the globally-recognized Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides (ANFT).

David Motzenbecker, PLA, ANFT