Louis Elwood-Leach
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Master's Thesis (2018)
New York School of Visual Arts

Many of the products which we interact with on a daily basis are becoming invisible. The objects which we once curated, compiled and organised are leaving our control. Through digital services providing infinite access and sharing economies that fluidly move objects between users, our things are moving from something personal to something fluid, there when we need them, gone when we don’t. There is no intentionality in the things we own anymore.

This thesis looks at the rise of these invisible possessions and considers opportunities to rethink our relationship with products as we transition into an economy that increasingly values access over possession, experience over product, and machine over individual.


Design Experiments

FirstHand is a parametrically generated watch that generates a unique spirograph pattern for the face each time one is sold. FirstHand explores the metaphor of the spirograph, a pattern with thousands of variations but a pattern that is difficult to replicate to give owners a sense of personal agency over the aesthetic.

Shelve Your Things is a parametrically designed shelf that uses our possessions as inputs to generate a design and silhouette the possessions we love into the furniture of our homes.


Flâneur is a mobile app that enables us to explore our digital media through the physical spaces that give it real context by connecting with our apps and subscriptions. Flaneur looks beyond pure convenience to create an experience with invisible media that is less ephemeral and feels real.


DIY Smart Speaker is a DIY project published on instructables.com. This experiment aimed to bring a sense of warmth to the new way of owning and accessing digital content by interacting with it through the products we already own and love.


The Wonderful Life of an Object is an experiment to capture a day in the life of New York’s shared objects through the people that use them and a disposable camera. This experiment aimed to reframe objects of a shared economy as objects of a shared mythology.