An exclusive look into the creative world of Syd Mead, one of the great futurists of our time, continues in Berlin into January 2020. The death of the legendary designer, whose film credits include Aliens, Blade Runner, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Tron, along with an unrealised remake of Forbidden Planet, was announced yesterday.
Fans of Syd’s work across the world have expressed dismay at the news of his passing, his official web site still, for now overwhelmed by visitors seeking confirmation that the 86-year-old designer had passed.
Mead, who created groundbreaking designs for companies such as Ford, Chrysler, Philips Electronics and Sony, has worked for Hollywood since the 1970s, creating trend-setting and breathtaking worlds that continue to influence film, industrial and game designers as well as architects and urban planners to this day.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Tron, Blade Runner or Aliens, Mission to Mars, Tomorrowland and Elysium are among the films for which he developed entire cities and mobility concepts with flying cars, autonomous vehicles, space ships. His picture worlds are always characterised by functionality and, mostly, a positive idea of the future – even in the dystopian cult film Blade Runner, where he created the vision of a bold and apocalyptic city in which huge skyscrapers dominate the skyline.
Many of his designs, including his work for the automotive industry, foresaw many technical achievements that have become reality or are about to become reality. His visions will continue to shape the popular image of the future, and continue to influence many.
Paying tribute yesterday, Star Trek designer Michael Okuda said Mead’s vision “always stretched my imagination and filled my mind with visions of a great, big, beautiful tomorrow.”
“His pivotal role in shaping cinema was unique, with a singular ability to visualize the future,” the Art Directors Guild said in a statement reported by Variety. The much-admired designer was set to receive the Art Directors Guild’s William Cameron Menzies Award during the Guild’s 24th Annual awards in February for his contributions on Aliens, Blade Runner and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
“Future Cities” at the gallery O&O Depot in Berlin is Germany’s first solo exhibition of works by Syd Mead, the visionary of utopian film worlds and futuristic designs, runs until 16th January 2020.
When O&O Baukunst won the competition for the Urbane Mitte Am Gleisdreieck in Berlin against international competition, it was clear to the project architect Markus Penell (O&O Baukunst) that he wanted to make inspiring concepts of visionary urban development tangible beyond architectural means. The idea arose to win Syd Mead, one of the most important visionaries for the city of the future, for an exclusive presentation of his works in Berlin.
In cooperation with entrepreneur Marc F. Kimmich (COPRO) and curator Boris Hars-Tschachotin, O&O Baukunst was able to realise Syd Mead – Future Cities – an exhibition that brings together a selection of his iconic drawings and gouaches with a focus on urban spaces, including motifs for Blade Runner. A total of 33 originals invite an exclusive look into the creative world of Syd Mead, accompanied by new short documentary film in which Mead a talks about his works, his inspiration and his career.
The exhibition concept was designed by Boris Hars-Tschachotin, an expert in film production design, who has already curated the large Ken Adam retrospective for the Kinemathek. He is the author of the book Der Bildbau im Film: Metropolis, Dr. Strangelove und Troy, on the significance of production design for film. As a director he has made a name for himself with award-winning films such as Sergej in der Urne or Lurch.
If you can make it to Berlin, it sounds very much like fitting tribute to an amazing, creative genius who will be much missed.
• Syd Mead 18th July 1933 – 30th December 2019
• Syd Mead – Future Cities continues until 16th January 2020 at the O&O Depot, Leibnizstr. 60, 10629 Berlin-Charlottenburg, Germany | Web: ortner-ortner.com/de/depot/ausstellungen/asako-tokitsu