Finding a unison of form and function is basically what industrial design is all about, and the fact that it's so difficult to find furniture and other household items that both look good and actually work is testament to the fact that this is more difficult than it looks (as is the fact that when you do find such things, they usually cost a small fortune).
In view of all this, we have oodles of admiration for Italian designer, Gabriele Diamanti, whose devices pretty much embody the idea of elegant utilitarianism, but are also conceived in a spirit of community-minded altruism.
Much of his work is directed toward objects that benefit everyone, from city benches made out of recycled plastic to traffic bollards topped with flowerpots. (We're particularly enamored of his Elio Domestico, a solar-powered still that's designed to provide clean drinking water in developing countries.) Check out Diamanti's work at his website.