Nothing beats a functional piece of furniture and this "Water Bench" created by MARS architects for the BMW Guggenheim Lab is the ultimate in utilitarian design.

On the outside, it looks like your average tufted leather ottoman, but the seating, which is made from partially recycled plastic, features slits along the traditional seams that collect rainwater (while keeping the sitting surface dry) that's stored in tanks inside the hollow bench.

The form: Modular outdoor seating for the masses (the prototypes were rolled out in public spaces in one of the most populated city in India -- Mumbai); the function: helping to make the city's parks and public spaces independent from district water supplies and encouraging social interaction.

According to Design Boom, "the implementation of the humble system has the potential to lower demand, increase supply, and create buffers to minimize the impact of floods and droughts, creating a more resilient and flexible water management network."

Each bench can hold between 500 and 1,800 liters of water each and can even be used in a number of urban scenarios, including private gardens and greenhouses.

Take a look at photos of the "Water Bench" in the slideshow below and watch creator Neville Mars talk about the concept in this video.

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  • Photo: David Heald

  • Photo courtesy Neville Mars.

  • Photo courtesy Neville Mars.

  • Photo courtesy Neville Mars.

  • Photo courtesy Neville Mars.

  • Photo courtesy Neville Mars.

  • Photo courtesy Neville Mars.

  • Photo courtesy Neville Mars.

  • Photo courtesy Neville Mars.

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