It turns out the myriad of benches dotting parks and green spaces can be doing so much more than just providing a place to sit or dispose of your gum. MARS Architects—a Shanghai-based firm—designed these wonderful bench alternatives that look like upholstered chesterfield couches, but are actually reservoirs for collecting rain that can later be used to water plants.
Currently installed in green spaces around Mumbai, India, the benches' core functionality also solves another problem; namely finding a dry spot to sit after it pours rain. The Water Bench's upholstered design is actually just a durable moulded plastic, and what appears to be sewn buttons are really sunken drainage holes that allow any and all moisture to seep inside. Very clever.
Designed to be portable or permanently installed, the Water Benches can even be doubled up, with an extra connected tank buried underground to double its capacity. And by connecting a simple pump-powered hose, the water can be used for plants when rain is scarce, or even accessed to be treated and turned into cooking or drinking water. [Water Bench via PSFK]