Every day, because it’s both habit and discipline, I sit in front of my computer, and read and write. Not just for a few moments but for hours. If I didn’t have a good chair, my back should be aching every time I’m done for the day.
But my back is fine. Because the chair I use has been so designed to follow the contours of the human body. The backrest is a mesh so on warm days, even if the air-conditioner is off, my skin breathes better. It’s not always easy to find a chair that sits me so comfortably.
The thing is, it isn’t all that pretty. If optics were my priority, I might have bought a beautiful chair — a conversation piece — but does nothing kind to the back and butt while working on the computer.
But my priority is comfort. So I bought a nondescript chair with the most amazing support all the way from my neck down to my feet. Still, I wish I had more and better choices. I wish I could have found a chair that is visually striking and intelligently designed.
I suppose we want that for everything in our home — the house itself, everything in it, and the garden too.
Architectural design and engineering
How does one go about building a house? It starts with a plan, right? The kind done by an architect. A plan that is drawn with engineering consultation. After all, a beautiful plan is nothing if it is only good on paper. And engineers are needed to turn that plan into a structural design that can be built into physical structure that will not collapse over the heads of its occupants.
If the architect and the engineers are good, and they work well together, the house will be a marvel of both art and science. Climate, elevation, location, available space, and even the kind of soil will all be considered. All that vis a vis with needs of the family that will live in the house. The thickness of the walls, the location and size of rooms and windows, the height of ceilings and the ideal materials for the exterior and interior will all be integrated in the final design.
The same is true about everything that we put inside the house. From the the cabinets to the furniture to the dining table and kitchen counter, we want the best that we can afford. Pleasant to look at but sturdy and genuinely functional at the same time.
Then, there’s the matter of space. The art and science of choosing and arranging fixtures and furniture so that they are the right size and shape for a specified room or space. I mean, you know… I’ve been to houses where there’s much furniture and display cabinets that you literally have to squeeze between them to get to the other side of the room.
So, again. Art and science. Together. For everything inside the house. And beyond.
Gardening is art and science too
Art and science must go together too if a garden is to be a joy to its owners. Take us, for example. We like to grow edibles in our garden. We’ve been doing so for over a decade. But when we started out, we were more concerned about how beautifully the herbs and trees had grown after planting rather than learning how to propagate them.
In short, we forgot the science.
We neglected to study and ingrain in our heads that some plants like the sun more than others, that some herbs need to have the flower snipped off so they can grow more leaves, and that trees cannot be planted too close to each other. Herbs and vegetables kept dying after we started harvesting. We ended up uprooting everything except for the fruit trees that would require an earthballing because they had already grown too big.
But we’ve learned. We have started to replant the garden. This time, we don’t care if the pots are not of the same size and shape. It doesn’t matter if troughs are positioned at awkward spots and angles. The important thing is that we have REAL plants in the garden (rather than tacky painted seven dwarves statues made of plaster) and that they will thrive and propagate.
Updated from a post originally published in July 25, 2020