Giovanni Klaus Koenig e l’approccio semiotico al design

Giovanni Klaus Koenig was a conservative and nonconformist critic and historian, capable of counterbalancing a lucid moral severity to an ironic language with which he tells the story of design not only from the new corner of semiotics but also through a popular anecdotal macro. His theoretical book Il design è un pipistrello: 1/2 topo e 1/2 uccello published posthumously with an introduction by Giuseppe Lotti and Egidio Mucci in 1995, collects part of his best essays: the reading reflects the mind of Koenig in all its versatility. As Tomás Maldonado recalled a few years ago, “Koenig’s very strong verbal invective and polemic was a simplification of the popular type of his thought, of extraordinarily easy impact” (Brizzi, Di Cintio, Segoni, & Terpolilli, 1997)[1]  and this emerges strongly from the book: the ease in exposing complex facts in a simple and lively way, the need to dissociate the culture of design from the idealistic legacy of Croce through a direct language, his passion in restoring concreteness, reality and materiality to the history. Koenig remains an important reference for the comparison between design and its linguistic and communicative values, and in the application of a method of analysis of objects that adopts the point of view of structuring their meaning over time.

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  1. Il video-documento illustrativo intitolato I maestri dell’architettura e del design – Giovanni Klaus Koenig (Brizzi, Di Cintio, Segoni, & Terpolilli, 1997), riporta interviste, esperienze e ricordi di molti di coloro che collaborarono con Koenig dal 1965 in poi come Pierluigi Spadolini, Bruno Zevi, Umberto Eco, Alessandro Mendini, Roberto Segoni.