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The trick with designing anything to last is, perhaps ironically, making it more flexible and adaptable so it can change based on needs over time. At the one extreme, this is an ordinary wooden outdoor bench. At the other, it could be a desk or multi-person work table.

A metal frame supports the series of identical wood pieces that stack horizontally from one end to the other. Each of these modules locks into one of two fixed positions. The seating elements can be divided with temporary armrests (or wider shared working areas), or merged into a single bench seat.

While the solution is simple, elegant and functional, one has to wonder what the next step would (or could) be. Another ‘layer’ might make it possible for these dual-use rotating wood pieces to serve a third function related to seating, working or something else entirely. For now, the Coffee Bench by Karolina Tylka is a one-off work of design perhaps best considered a draft or prototype of some future design. Meanwhile, it would be good to see how this stands up to some outdoor weather, wear and tear (particularly with moving parts).