Designer Syd Mead, a designer and "visual futurist" who contributed to such sci-fi films as Blade Runner, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Minority Report, died on December 30. He was 86.
Mead's death was first reported by Autoline's John McElroy, via Facebook. McElroy wrote: “He was one of the greatest designers and futurists of of our times. Syd Mead passed away this morning. His work and influence will outlive him forever.”
On February 1, 2020, Mead was expected to receive the Art Directors Guild’s William Cameron Menzies Award during the Guild’s 24th Annual Awards ceremony, to be held in Los Angeles.
Fans -- both inside and outside the industry -- took to Twitter to post their condolences and to celebrate the late designer's inspirational work, which helped bring to life some of our favorite films and fictional futures. His signature style proved to be quite malleable to each projects' respective director and visual palette -- especially his work designing the vehicles of the future Washington, DC in Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise's underrated 2002 summer blockbuster, Minority Report.
Credit: 20th Century Fox“Syd Mead has played a pivotal role in shaping cinema with his unique ability to visualize the future. His visions and illustrations of future technological worlds remain as a testament to his vast imagination. Mead is one of the most influential concept artists and industrial designers of our time,” ADG President Nelson Coates said in a statement to THR.
In addition to his iconic work on Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic -- he designed the famous "Spinner" vehicle -- Mead also worked on the design for the mask making tech in J.J. Abrams' Mission: Impossible III. Click here to listen to more about his work on one of that film's key props, courtesy of the Light the Fuse podcast. (The device also made an appearance in Brad Bird's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol).
Mead's impressive resume -- focused mostly on futuristic vehicle designs -- also includes work on TRON, TimeCop, Tomorrowland, and Blade Runner 2049. (For the latter, Mead is credited for creating the landscape for the sand-blasted Las Vegas of the future.)