With this issue, Domus in India completes a good seven years. This may be an important moment to evaluate what these pages, over the last 77 issues, have aimed to do — and that has been to calibrate the contemporary. With architecture and design at the centre, the magazine has attempted to map the larger world of cultural ideas and productions and the measure of politics that sits within design and art, our cities and the environment. Contemporary architecture was slowly lost (to the limit of being forgotten) in the debates on urbanism and development, real estate and history; conservation, took sustainability on the mantle and of Domus India bringing architecture back to the centre of all conversations. Clearly one was not looking at architecture as a floating object — ready and cut for a kind of ‘object- study’ — but it was an object-subject that sat at many crossroads, and the crossroads had to be accounted for but only through the object-subject they were all crossing — that of architecture.
There has indeed been a change of atmosphere towards a recovery of architecture as the subject of discourse and subsequent architecture-oriented
biographies. Rahul Mehrotra’s Architecture in India since 1990 (Pictor Publishing Pvt Ltd, 2011) also marked this important moment of proposing lenses to look at the contemporary practice of architecture, the crafted object, and the histories of the subject that have a bearing on the contemporary. Thereafter, State of Architecture: Practices and Processes in India, curated by Rahul Mehrotra, Ranjit Hoskote and Kaiwan Mehta (under the aegis of UDRI) in 2016 brought architecture at the centrestage within the profession as well as amongst other professionals, thinkers and citizens. This was coupled with a range of publications that emerged in the span of the last 2-3 years — monographs such as those on the works of Mumbai-based I M Kadri, Ahmedababd-based Hasmukh Patel, or the master A P Kanvinde, or Punebased Christopher Benninger, and recently Mumbai-based Brinda Somaya. Two other publications that came about this period — two books accounting the story of women and architecture, as well as women in architecture — were books by University of Cornell professor Mary Woods and Ahmedabad-based Madhavi Desai. The archives of Domus India were, in fact, presented as a map of contemporary architecture practice in India at a conference on the same theme at the Faculty of Architecture, Cornell University, about two years ago. And Domus India is happy and proud to be part of this process and change; the team and archives played a key role in two landmark exhibitions – State of Architecture: Practices and Processes in India as well as State of Housing: Aspirations, Imaginaries, and Realities in India (2018). To map the contemporary has been a methodology beyond the obvious documenting, critically, the works and buildings produced in India. It has been a larger project of mapping the cultural scenario of the present time as much as of the time-past, so drawing out archives or conversations, books and exhibitions from the past has been crucial. These pages have observed closely and invited reflections and discussions on music, poetry, art, literature, cinema, and other forms of cultural production and practice. In fact with this issue, we complete a year — a cycle of 12 episodes — of the poetry section, with poet, critic and cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote as the consulting curator for the section.