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How curious is the delicious permissiveness and tolerance with which we experience the natural landscape, and the way we are and should be demanding about the designed landscape.

We are taking a hike up the mountain enjoying the natural landscape. It is hot, we feel hot, we see a tree. Good! We go to it. That's all we wanted. To get there, some uneven stones force us to pay attention and a stream to cross with very long steps. We arrive and we settle on an irregular stone acting as a bench. What a nice feeling! We sit awkwardly, but everything is fine, and the place does us good.

In a different situation, we are in the city, walking in a square. We look for some shade and a bench. If the bench is uncomfortable, we will not feel the same pleasure that the irregular stone gave us. The seat must be a good seat, at the right height, in the ideal dimension and, if it has a back, the inclination must accommodate well our spine. Climbing a poorly designed staircase with risers and treads at different heights and steps in the measure of discomfort, or walking on an uneven floor, is a bad and dangerous experience. But if we have control over the design, it is in our hands to solve this space with rigor in detail. But the great challenge of the project, in addition to getting the dimensions right, which is no more than our obligation, is to make us feel that pleasant and indecipherable sensation of pleasure and well-being that we experience when we sit on a clumsy stone in the shade of a tree in a mountain hike.

by Isabel Duprat

June 2018


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