Paula Benson, movie design detective

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Paula Benson talks about why Stanley Kubrick chose the Djinn chairs, designed by Olivier Mourgue, for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Photo credit: Courtesy of Modernism Week

Paula Benson says she is “a nightmare to watch a film with.” That’s because she’s always pausing the screen to check the decor, and ponder who designed the furnishings and where to get them.

She turned that habit into the website

At this year’s Modernism Week, she told a rapt crowd about sleuthing to get the story behind the much-copied carpet in the Overlook Hotel in "The Shining" and the Djinn chairs in "2001: A Space Odyssey."

She also shares her thoughts on why modernism is the style of choice to depict the future; and when a movie can be undone by too much decor. The latest Wes Anderson movie, “The French Dispatch," looks as if it will be as glorious as his past films, but she thinks it may be “almost too Wes Anderson.”



Frances Anderton