THE DESIGN LIES OF BED, BATH & BEYOND

Exposé

If you’re looking for order or beauty at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, it won’t be where you expect it. Entering the discount houseware emporium on any given New York City weekend may be the very definition of hell.

Products cover nearly every surface. Wires and lights dangle from the rafters above. Bored children run rampant through the poorly delineated aisles. Behind the checkout counters, mirrors line a wall from floor to ceiling, each reflecting a slightly different angle, exacerbating the horror show aspect of the experience. Every wall, every shelf, every angle begins to close in on you. Until you reach the linen section.

The soft, clean lines offer a momentary respite from the pandemonium. Pillowy towels sit in neatly folded stacks of five that reach towards the ceiling. It is the only orderly space in an environment otherwise dense with chaos. But calm is never permanent, at least not on Saturdays in Manhattan.

The story begins to unravel at the corners. An aging foam peeks out from behind the folds. A single towel has been tucked into an undulating block of foam, made to mimic a stack of many in perfect alignment. The wall transforms, its beauty revealed through the perfect deception of its design.