From our launch in November 2011 we are now in November 2018, and this is our seventh anniversary issue. It has been a most exciting journey, as we have been living in interesting times, especially in India, no doubt. Domus India began its work in India roughly when a new generation — a thirdwave generation, roughly speaking, since India’s independence in 1947 — was reaching it maturity and beginning to articulate a voice. In this generation of architects, roughly those who set up their offices since the early 1990s, one found a struggle to shape an idiom, a voice, a self, and a history that had least to do with a normative past or any obvious rhetoric on history, identity, or context. In publishing some of these architects and their work — at times sporadically, at times insistently — the magazine was a kind of ‘coffee-house’ or much like the quintessential Bombay/ Mumbai Irani cafe, where like-minded projects met and chatted with each other, argued, not always sure of debates or directions, but continued on discussions and directions, making notes, and more. But the magazine also slowly aspired to be like a campus, the shared arena of a university where ideas and histories would be recalled and experimented with, where intellectual traditions would be archived, as well as challenged and debated. The magazine, over its 78 issues, has built this — a coffee house, a nukkad (street corner), a campus, a playground... The magazine has been for the last few years, associated with the Urban Design and Architecture section of the annual Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai — where the week-long deliberations are often a physical realisation of the discussions and journeys explored within the pages of this magazine. The explorations and journeys of younger practices are discussed as much as senior practices are invited to share and ruminate over their work and time in architecture. Architecture’s existence and exchanges with history and politics, or the wider battles in the field of design as well art, and planning are brought in proximity — to listen and hear from each other, to whisper their own experiences to friends, and think with shared readers and audiences. The magazine was also closely associated and involved in two national exhibitions — both of which marked historical moments for the profession — State of Architecture: Practices and Processes in India, and State of Housing: Aspirations, Imaginaries, and Realities in India. The former marked a historical shift and beginning not only in the way India’s architecture and its architectural history is viewed, but called out for the ‘role of the architect’ which had slipped into forgetfulness and at worst, slumber. And in all these processes, the archives and pages of the magazine played a vital role and contributed as an ongoing vehicle of testing the ground of practice on an everyday basis. The magazine is an archive,a jury room, a scanner, and a kaleidoscope — all in one, all in one time; and in that sense its perception, its logic, its flexibility, its vulnerability, are all properties of importance and value. Continuing this existence and process we look at two senior and critical practices in India, with their works featured in this issue — architects Sen Kapadia and Brinda Somaya; we look at two works of each - a house and a campus from Sen Kapadia, and an exhibition design and a campus from SNK Architects. Both these individuals have shaped some interesting trajectories for contemporary India — and their journeys have yet not been fully realised, reviewed,
and critically evaluated. They are part of a generation that probably grew and navigated one of the most undefined periods of India’s design history since 1947. It was a period neither defined by the idealism and spirit of nationalism and modernity as were the first few decades immediately after independence, nor was it a period defined by the turmoil of the regional politics and economic liberalisation from the 1990s onwards. But this is a generation that helped design values transition from the logic of modernism to the needs of a post-colonial nation coming to terms with its own realities, maintaining and redefining either a need for intellectual engagement with everyday life as a civilisational process and aesthetics as a way of human civilisation and development as in the case of Sen Kapadia; or as in the case of Brinda Somaya, architecture took as its role the deep sense to engage with changing states of urbanity while never losing sight of people and culture as an aspect of everyday living. We hope this very brief discussion on these two rich and intense careers is only the beginning, and the magazine will continue to explore and read further many critical histories.