The May issue of Domus India documents an encounter with the shape and functioning of visual culture in human history and society; and it does so by employing the “image” itself.
The photographs by Karl Blossfeldt featured here were imagined to be specimens for an educational purpose – teaching students of arts and craft how to understand the form and geometry “inherent” in nature. On another note, the photographs by Jyoti Bhatt reimagine the human world, as they render it natural to environment and their understanding of everyday life and experiences. The other two photo-essays by Y D Pitkar and Hemangi Kadu bring forth, for us, the way human creativity reproduces the physical, natural, and man-made world constantly through architecture and design. The mythical and human, the real and phantasmagorical are all enacted through sculpture and architecture; form is textured not just through carving material surfaces and manipulation of light and shadows, but textured through story-telling and visual repertoires.
In the feature on two proposed projects by architect Sen Kapadia – one of India’s most introspective and intense architects – the thinking is around the question of form and place-making. Further, we feature a disused watch factory that has been transformed into a pre-school by CollectiveProject – where the colourful, open learning environment enables children to interpret the flexible space and use it as they see fit – thereby questioning the idea of traditionally designed classrooms that may be restricting children’s holistic growth.
We also feature the transformation of a dignified 18th century orphanage building by Mathew & Ghosh Associates into a store for contemporary lifestyle products which is exemplary of an increasingly progressive attitude that favours the adaptation and re-purposing of our existing building stock to create spaces that are less about a nostalgia rooted in a sentimentalist mindset, and more about addressing the challenge of preserving a place’s history, traces of collective memory and the need for continuity in the face of widespread disregard and obliteration of our collective heritage.