Less is Less

BBC Radio 4

In a witty and acerbic polemic, Laurence laments the blonde and bland Scandinavian design that has dislodged pattern, antiquity and a tradition of elaborate decoration from British homes.

What do our choices in furniture and interior design say about our social aspirations? How does class influence taste? And what causes our relationship with how our homes look to shift so dramatically?

In stripping our homes of decoration, Laurence worries that we are not only selling ourselves short but contributing to the death of British style.

Laurence visits the Stockholm Furniture and Lighting Fair to issue a challenge to some of the stars of Nordic furniture to give an account of their worldview and design philosophy.

Sara Kristofferson, author of Design by Ikea, explains how Ikea, now celebrating its 30th year in the UK, encouraged the British to ‘chuck out their chintz’ in favour of a cleaner, modernist aesthetic inspired by midcentury Scandinavia.

But could brown furniture finally be on the comeback? At Lots Road, auctioneer Nick Carter has noticed a slowing down in sales of Scandi style in favour of an increased interest in 18th and 19th century antiques. What does this say about Britain in 2017?

And upstairs in Laurence’s 16th century Cotswolds home, we make a shocking discovery regarding his daughter Hermione’s taste in interior decoration.

Produced by Paul Smith

Broadcast: 13th May