Alex McDowell: Reimagining the narrative of storytelling

World-renowned production designer Alex McDowell is the man behind immersive, 5D worlds.

Award-winning storyteller and production designer Alex McDowell creates immersive worlds for industries and institutions. As the director of both 5D Global Studio and the World Building Media lab, McDowell has been at the centre of numerous advancements in cinematic arts.

Speaking to Design Indaba, McDowell details the inspiration behind Minority Report. The 2002 sci-fi film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise, featured futuristic scenes and technology that would inspire innovations in reality in the years to follow. Set in Washington DC in the year 2054, McDowell designed the entire city in great detail. The design was so intricate to the film that its plot was centred around the city’s features.

The World Building Media Lab is also behind the Leviathan project. Launched in 2014, it has been described as a new ecosystem for storytelling. “This research-based, experiential storytelling platform explores new possibilities in entertainment — where physical and virtual worlds connect through the power of creativity combined with emergent technology,” reads the project’s website.

As for the future, McDowell is confident that nothing will remain unchanged: “I don’t think the cellphone is going to survive it. I don’t think the computer is going to survive it. I think those things are going to change in ways we can’t imagine.”

Watch the Talk with Alex McDowell