Building a Bamboo Meditation Bench

Last August 2023, Moni came from Canada and joined Bamboo U to immerse in the learning of bamboo building, joinery, and structure. The next month, she decided to re-join the course and build her meditation bench prototype in the second half of the course.

Design, Idea, Concept, and Inspiration

The concept was to create an indoor bench that would live outside the doors of a yoga studio’s practice room. It is meant to offer space for 2-3 people comfortably on their side or in a lotus position, seat cross-legged, or a day bed for one. The kidney-shaped form was inspired by breath and its organic asymmetry was measured to wrap around existing foundational bamboo structures of the building.

Bamboo Meditation Bench by Mona El Batrik

Building the Bench

This bamboo meditation bench was made using a combination of lidi (thin rods of bamboo) bundle, bamboo splits, and poles, which combine different techniques such as bending and lamination.

There are construction layers to this piece; the frame and its shell. The frame was started by drawing its shape on a piece of plywood and then banging a whole lot of nails (about one finger apart) all the way along. The next thing was while having glue, a hammer, and a whole lot of clamps on hand, splits were laminated to wrap around the nail wall, and once dried, the process was repeated and built to the height of the bench.

Crossbars were next and the top surface lidi spiral began. Because bamboo is not as flexible as rattan, we started from the outside in since I wasn’t sure how far we could push heat bending the bamboo to make the sharper curves towards the center.

The Mutik knife was one of the top tools used for this project from start to finish. Everything from cutting splits, and shaving uneven surfaces, to carving the lidi to fit smoothly. Some other tools required, beyond the basics, were a mask, gloves, planer, nail gun, heat gun, chop saw, palm sander, hammer, bamboo hammer (mallet), and a chisel.

Challenges and Learning

Working with bamboo is such a pleasure and an amazingly versatile material to use. Bamboo will pop up to help you during your projects too! Little things like a broken piece of split can be used to apply the glue lam making it easy to apply a thin and consistent layer.

Of course, there are limitations that I was testing with lidi heat bending, pieces that were just about in the curve we needed, would get too hot and break pushing us to restart.

At the end of the project, the most rewarding part of the process was seeing the material take shape and structure. Being able to carve and manipulate the material to empower the bamboo to speak for itself was incredible. A simple change of species or thickness in the material would change the overall look entirely.

Working with like-minded and happy people is certainly the best takeaway, in addition to feeling a sense of confidence in the material and my newfound skills in working with bamboo. Hands-on projects push the use of techniques and practicing them repeatedly throughout this project gave me a real masterful perspective on how I would do things differently if I was to build it again or something else entirely

If you are interested in joining the course, all I can say is just do it. You will not regret it since it would be very unusual not to enjoy yourself being surrounded by people from all walks of life who love bamboo just the same.

The hands-on course made my Bamboo U experience full since I took the online first to get the base theory. With an awareness of bamboo's story, going to the hands-on course was liberating to jump right into using bamboo at full scale. I recommend exploring bamboo and bamboo structures before you attend so you don’t waste a moment during the program where you are supported by experts.

Joining the course is submerging yourself in an incredibly supportive, exploratory, and encouraging environment to dive deeper into the realms of this extraordinary grass that can build buildings!

Being immersed with a group of like-minded people open to learning and sharing each other's skills and wisdom was such an inspiration and a blessing. Bamboo U gives you all the tools to succeed in your vision for how you can bring your bamboo project to life.


Join the next 11 Day Build and Design Course, and let’s begin your bamboo journey!
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About the author
Mona El Batrik | Architect Designer

Raised in Canada, brought up between two very unique cultures, Egyptian and Polish, Mona has developed a character full of creativity, curiosity, precision, diversity and drive. Developing her skills continually allows her inspiration to fuel many projects big or small in a variety of industries. The world of food, furniture, lighting, product, textiles, and water systems all lay the foundations of exploration.After completing her Master in Ecological Architecture and Biocities, Mona further dedicated her passion towards natural materials such as cork and bamboo. Then came Bamboo U, first the online course and then Mona wanted to experience the hands-on course which led to her stay in Bali for a few months designing and working with bamboo restoration and builds.Mona resides wherever her projects take her, to keep in touch, you can find her at @monielb (Instagram) or

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