The last few days of the old year and the beginning of the New Year have been a wake-up call for us in Mumbai. While our work lives were put on hold to mark the end of another calendar year, the devastating fire at Kamala Mills – the hub for the trendiest restaurants and pubs in the city – put our leisure life on hold, at least momentarily. What sparked the fire that brutally took the lives of those enjoying a ladies night out? Fingers were pointed at the unauthorized extensions to the restobar where the tragedy occurred, and that could well be the cause. But connect the dots…maybe we should take the opportunity to reflect on how to make all our built spaces safe by way of space planning as well as the materials and products we use. We have all returned to our regular routines after connecting with family and friends in the run-up to the New Year celebrations. Some of us have been able to find time to actually meet the people and visit the places we hold dear – but the rest of us could use the Internet and social media to connect with them. Today, parents and grandparents have learnt to use Skype, Messenger and WhatsApp to stay tuned to the lives of their children and grandchildren who have flown the nest. Technology, when used right, is indeed a wondrous thing. Our feature on home automation brings us up-to-date with how the Internet of Things (IoT) is shaping our lifestyles and helping us use our time and energy more efficiently. Our cover story this month is about connecting the past to the present through a gallery that houses the collective memory of ten Kutch communities through a showcase of their embroidery art and crafts. Matrika Design Collaborative has designed the Shrujan Collective Gallery One with innovation and sensitivity, as you will see in this case study. Connect Four, who we celebrate for their holistic design philosophy that pays as much attention to research as it does to realization of their projects, is a design firm that bridges the gap between generations. It embraces the history of the founding members and their pioneering projects, imbibing from the past to build for the future. Finally, our product spotlight is turned on flooring, the surface that connects the four walls of rooms in the homes, offices and entertainment spaces we occupy. Thanks to technology, these hard-wearing surfaces can now be as aesthetic as they are functional. As we step into the future, one year at a time, let us remember to connect the old with the new by learning the lessons that experience teaches us. Welcome back to reality…and wish you a Happy New Year!

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