The SitePoint PHP blog has a tutorial they've posted (from author Andrew Carter) looking at the Flyweight design pattern and immutability, how they're a "perfect match". The flyweight pattern makes it possible to reuse objects after they've been created with one requirement: they must be immutable.
The fundamental principle behind the flyweight pattern is that memory can be saved by remembering objects after they have been created. Then, if the same objects need to be used again, resources do not have to be wasted recreating them. [...] You can think of the flyweight pattern as a modification to a conventional object factory.
One important feature of flyweight objects is that they are immutable. This means that they cannot be changed once they have been constructed. This is because our factory can only guarantee that it has remembered the correct object if it can also guarantee that the object it originally created has not been modified.
The post includes code examples of how to implement the pattern with a simple
File object that fetches data from a file when created. He then creates the factory class, with a
getFile method that takes in the path and creates the immutable
File object from it. It's then stored in an internal array for potential reuse later. He also talks about how the pattern could be useful for handling enumeration objects and how you can use it to build out "type" objects.