Bamboo For You and Me!

Bamboo architecture has become a big part of the joy of living in Bali. There is quite simply nothing to compare with its graceful structural lines, not to mention its delightful texture and lightness which suit this climate perfectly.

Day 8 for a student of bamboo. Courtesy of Bamboo U

Maybe you’ve immersed yourself in the treehouse luxe of the dining room at Bambu Indah, or took the chocolate tour of the bamboo 3-story factory and office building in Abiansemal’s Big Tree Farm. Even a woven bamboo wall of a humble beachfront warung can transport a visitor to an indescribable sensation of tropical simplicity and sense of place.

Some people are beginning to notice a bit of a disconnect in their Bali lifestyle from the organic, sustainable principles seen in bamboo structures in design and architecture books.We have all heard about this green building material renowned for its strength and its flexibility, extraordinarily beautiful in its structural application. But are we still in the habit of putting up batako walls, installing toxic-time-bomb PVC window frames, and pounding in whole forests of bankerai floorboards?

What’s in your building plans right now? Are you looking to expand your tropical workplace or living space, and you want to design it with organic lines? Maybe you want to truly connect with nature in a new development project in tropical climes? If you’ve been personally transformed by a visit to a bamboo-constructed space, and you are eager to learn this skill for yourself, it may be the time to take bamboo into your own hands and tap into the knowledge of experts and get valuable experience in building with it.

Whether it’s for you, or if you know a builder or architect who wants to learn everything about bamboo,let me tempt you to check out Bamboo U’s upcoming workshops.

Designed especially for creative individuals who value sustainability, and for educators and designers who want to gain a full understanding of its principles (growth, preservation methods, and design applications) here area few options.

Setting a high bar: A course with unparalleled bamboo community networking and intensive skill expansion is on offer this coming November. In a fully immersive, hands-on, build-and-design course in bamboo, ten designers will be chosen from around the globe to attend free of charge (US$2500 value). All tools, meals, activities and yurt accommodations are included.

In the first partnership of its kind, Kenzo Parfums has generously made this scholarship possible.   Applications must be received on or before Bamboo U’s July 17 deadline. Participants will learn planting and harvesting bamboo, preservation treatment, processing, designing & building. All scholarship information is at

Individuals mayalternatively pay the fee to reserve a spot, without having to apply for the Kenzo scholarship:

Rave reviews come in from students of past workshops, such as this from Indian engineer Ram Guddireddigari:

“Bamboo’s versatility is unparalleled, and so is Bamboo U’s. As an engineer, the construction phase of the course was particularly fulfilling given that you get to synthesize everything you’ve learnt in a practical, hands-on, tangible way.”

In current times, before Bali reopens, a unique online course is about to begin, and this is also global in scope. So you might consider this online immersion class in Bamboo structural design which commences August 9. It lasts 11 weeks and promises to be just as informative and practical as their on-site courses. In fact, students enrolled in the virtual class will get the inside track on many of Bambu U’s trade secrets. Registration is open now at

Bamboo U’s 3-day Comprehensive Introduction to Bamboo course could be a beginner’s best bet, but right now there are none scheduled. So keep close check on their calendar at and sign up when one is scheduled.



Balinale update!

Audience patience is about to be rewarded!

New poster for Balinale 14. Courtesy of Balinale

Not only in consideration of public health, but also because the true cinematic experience is not best experienced on a personal device, Bali’s glamorous and cutting edge Balinale International Film Festival has been wisely holding out for Indonesia todecree doors open to the island’s big theatrical screens (and toallow safe passage of a number of foreign luminaries). 16-19 September is the time for the 14th Balinale.Stay connected by following social media for updates through, Instagram bali.nale, Balinale film fest on Twitter, and BALINALE on Facebook.

Balinale may, like Cannes and Sundance,be a fixture on the international film festival calendar, but it has a strong local community connection. Traditionally, this festival has a free admission family film on the closing day, a magical treat for invited orphanages. Balinale supports young Indonesian filmmakers through free-of-chargeworkshops, seminars, and student film screenings and in some years creates other opportunities and rewards for rising directors. The festivalis endorsed by theMinistry of Tourism and Creative Economy and by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Readers who manage a business, please note the following opportunities for partnerships with Balinale. Supporting the incomparable cross-cultural reach of the medium of film,corporate partnerships are available to businesses wanting to raise their profile of Social Responsibility. Your brand can be closely linked to the community and to the festival’sthemes and programs which raise awareness of global and local economic, social and environmental issues. Hospitality brands can also shine by hosting various receptions and screenings, Red Carpet events and celebrations. Email or just telephone +62 361 270908.

News Flash: slated for a more casual run in Jakarta, the Balinale has announced July 16 – 18 as the screening dates for a Hong Kong Film Gala Presentation, with six films from Hong Kong getting an Indonesian premiere. Check for updates throughBalinale social media, listed above.



Minikino, the seven-years-old international short film festival unique to Bali, is to be held September 3 – 11. Themed Indonesia Raja 2021, attendees will feast their senses on30 titles, in 6 program categories. These showings are always free and are offered in alternative venues around the island.Minikino attracts all ages, and its young volunteer staff are exceptionally welcoming, inclusive, and helpful to all.

Minikino focuses on the collaborative aspects of both the culture of filmmaking and that of film viewing, with a focus on diversity. Round table discussions, industry panels and meet-the-filmmaker events are key parts of the program.

Like the Balinale, this festival values its connection to the community, and their outdoor Pop-Up Cinema screenings in remote villages bring delight to children there.



Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak is back in action with a variety of new events, and from July 1, they’ll be offering a program 3 times a week for kids from 4 to 8 years old. Staff have created an inspiring series of activities around recycling and farming and other topics. Contact the hotel directly for information. 0361 4737979


By Renee Melchert Thorpe

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