The Banal and the Bizarre: A Kubrick Design Compendium

Tomorrow would be the 84th birthday of the late, great Stanley Kubrick. To honor his remarkable contributions to film, we’ve taken a look back at the mind-bending aesthetic of the body of his work, beginning with his first color film, The Seafarers, a documentary short that he shot and directed in 1953, to his last, the sexual odyssey starring our favorite controversial but exceedingly talented Scientologist, 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut. As adept at depicting the mundane in painstakingly perfect detail as he was at representing fantastical, freakish worlds beyond the imagination, Kubrick often said that “if it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.” The Kubrick catalogue is a testament to this brave declaration. Illustrating his exceptional understanding of humanity and the dark depths of the human psyche, click through to revisit his masterful oeuvre through the lens of a brilliant balance between the banal and bizarre design that shows up in every film he ever made.

The Seafarers, 1953


Image credit: Seafarers International Union

Created to explain the benefits of membership in an organization of labor unions of mariners, fishermen, and boatmen, Kubrick’s first color film is the third in a series of documentary shorts that represent an early fascination with the mundane, including the depiction of basic meals and austere institutional locations — two elements that would show up again and again.