Imaginary Worlds: Exploring the Unknown

08.02.2015 - Alex McDowell, Bruno Setola, Jeff Watson, moderated by Juan DiazB

These are the world’s promising untold stories waiting to be narrated. "World Building" designates an iterative and collaborative narrative practice in which the design of a world precedes the telling of a story. The richly detailed space becomes a container for narrative, producing stories that emerge from its welldesigned core and new worlds beyond the rules of the reality in which we live. This panel will discuss ways to build experiences and worlds in which stories unfold in new mindblowing ways, redefining the limits of design and narrative, moving into a landscape where art and science, design and engineering are inseparable.


Alex McDowell

photo of Alex McDowell
Alex McDowell RDI is a narrative designer who works at the intersection of design, technology and storytelling. He is creative director at Experimental Design, employing multi-platform, cross-disciplinary world building to design change in real and future worlds. He is a professor of practice at the University of Southern California where he teaches world building as a 21st century design practice, and is director of the USC World Building Institute. With over 35 years of experience as a production designer, he has worked with directors such as David Fincher, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, and Anthony Minghella.

Bruno Setola

photo of Bruno Setola
Process architect at PlaySpace and head of the ‘Way of Play’ curriculum at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. He specialises in designing gameful and playful learning processes that engage and empower stakeholders to solve wicked problems.

Jeff Watson

photo of Jeff Watson
Award-winning artist and designer. He is also Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, and Director at the Situation Lab (, a design research laboratory working at the intersections of narrative, space, and play.

Moderated by

Juan DiazB

photo of Juan DiazB

Juan DiazB is the European Director of the World Building Institute, a cutting-edge research unit at the University of Southern California focusing on the future of narrative media through world building. He is also the creative director of Kosmology, which develops film and transmedia projects in Europe and America, including TORPOR, a reflection on the water crisis, the multi-platform narrative ORIGEN and the transmedia format BUENAVENTURA MON AMOUR. He has been awarded as designer, director and writer.