Film Media

Second Major



Cohen, Rob

Advisor Department

Film Media




Production Design, Set Design, Literature, Exhibit, Literary Analysis

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.


The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje is a rich piece of literature that has a diverse set of characters confined to one pivotal location, a ship. Just as the novel builds a world around its characters, in this project I attempted to build a space around immersive design choices.

Production Design is a visual response to analytic reading. By taking a written piece or concept and creating the physical/visual atmosphere for the work, a production designer’s job is to create the overall look and tone of a creative production, be it for a film, play, or museum space. This is done through the creation and dressing of sets, finding locations, and being attuned to the decisions that go into wardrobe and lighting. A large part of the design process is research and reasoning while making artistic choices in order to capture the essence of the original work.

Designer’s often create a swatch book of possible design choices for any given production. For my project, I am creating an exhibition as an immersive 3D swatch book that encapsulates the entire production design process of The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje. This presentation space will be based on my interpretation of the novel, and the themes that careful reading shows to be most prevalent or most important to the understanding of the piece. Through the careful selection of furniture, props, wardrobe, color, lighting, sound, and the creation of a texture rich collage based on prominent moments in the novel, the exhibition will become an immersive experience.

Production design represents an excellent blending of my two fields of study, English and Film. It is my hope that this project will shine a light on the importance of production design to film and theater and ultimately to the analysis of literature. Creating films, plays, and artwork based on literature is a contemporary way to explore the subtext and themes presented in a novel in an entirely different way from close reading.

It is my hope that as soon as you step into the space you will be transported into the world of The Cat’s Table.