Worldbuilding: Inhabiting the Imagination

10.02.2013 - James D. Bissell, Juan DiazB, Juergen Mayer H., Alex McDowell, Habib Zargarpour

    Stories are created as an invitation for people to surpass the boundaries of the known. But for its creators to be guides in the deep corners of our imagination within narrative worlds, stories must become the first inhabitants of these new worlds. Production designers and architects discuss together their methods for the development and creation of spaces in both reality and film, revealing how the advancement of technological possibilities has allowed us to redefine the possible.


    James D. Bissell

    photo of James D. Bissell
    American production designer with over 30 years of experience in Hollywood, where he worked on such diverse films as E.T., GOOD NIGHT, GOOD LUCK and 300, amongst many others. He is currently working on George Clooney's THE MONUMENTS MEN, which is currently being filmed at the Babelsberg Studios near Berlin.

    Juan DiazB

    photo of Juan DiazB
    Juan DiazB is European Director of the World Building Institute, a research unit at the University of Southern California focusing on the future of narrative media. He is also the creative director of Kosmology, which develops film and transmedia projects in Europe and America, including TORPOR, a reflection on environmental degradation, the multi-platform narrative ORIGEN and the transmedia project WE ARE THE HEAT. He has won multiple awards as a designer, director and writer.

    Juergen Mayer H.

    photo of Juergen Mayer H.
    Founder and principal of the J. Mayer H architects' studio, which focuses on works at the intersection of architecture, communication and new technology. His work has won international awards and is part of numerous collections including MoMA New York and SF MoMA. He has taught at Princeton, Harvard, New York, London and Berlin.

    Alex McDowell

    photo of Alex McDowell
    Alex McDowell RDI is a narrative designer working at the intersection of design, technology and storytelling. He is the founder and creative director of Experimental Design; a Professor of Practice at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts; and Director of the USC World Building Institute. He has 30 years’ experience as a production designer and has worked with David Fincher, Steven Spielberg, Terry Gilliam, and Anthony Minghella, among others.

    Habib Zargarpour

    photo of Habib Zargarpour
    Iranian-born visual art director and effects specialist. He has done digital effects for films like STAR WARS EPISODE I, STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT and THE BOURNE IDENTITY. He was nominated for an Oscar® for his effects work on TWISTER and THE PERFECT STORM. Since 2003 he has been senior art director and creative director at Electronic Arts and the Microsoft Game Studio.