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The Friend stool.

To designer Renée Gravel, a piece of furniture is only worthy of production in her Montreal-based studio, Non-Useless, if the item has a chameleon-like changeability. This is particularly fitting in our ever-more-micro condos, where there simply isn't enough space to own a unique piece for every possible activity.

Gravel's Friend stool exemplifies her approach. It's proportioned to work as a kitchen stool, bedside table, laptop perch or stand for TV dinners. Two footrests – one low and one high – accommodate both shorter and taller sitters. And a slot in the top acts as a handle. Although the minimal form belies the versatility, it's no less unusual.

The seat is bent from a single, solid piece of Canadian maple that has been steamed and then carefully moulded into its multipurpose position. $800. Through