Vintage G-Plan

Retro furniture: G-Plan room setting from 1962

The G-Plan brand was launched in the 50s. It defined modern furniture from the 50s to the 70s. In those days  'G-Plan' was a generic term for modern furniture in the way we still use 'Hoover' for vacuum cleaners. G-Plan was not cheap, but it was the brand most people aspired to own.

After many years of neglect a new generation is discovering G-Plan again. Vintage pieces are commanding high prices. People are finding that furniture from the 50s and 60s and particularly G-Plan, was better made than antique furniture and looks stunning in a modern setting.

G-Plan brand history

G-Plan was the brainchild of Donald Gomme. The family firm, E Gomme, had made traditional style furniture since the Victorian age. In 1952 he brought the firm up-to-date when he launched G-Plan. G-Plan combined modern style, a national brand name and a clever concept - interchangeable furniture.

Before G-Plan, furniture was only available in suites for the bedroom, dining room or living room. G-Plan changed furniture buying forever. Now people could buy as much or as little G-Plan as they wanted. They could buy one coffee table or a complete G-Plan look for the whole house.

Brandon - the first G-Plan range

Brandon was G-Plan's first range

The first G-Plan range was called Brandon. It was finished in light oak and in the contemporary style of the early fifties. It had a light look and feel, tables chairs and even heavy wardrobes and sideboards appeared to float off the floor. This affect was achieved with splayed legs and a simple, uncluttered look; both were key styling points for early fifties contemporary. G-Plan borrowed much from designers such as Robin Day, who pioneered contemporary furniture design. G-Pan was, though, aimed at a much wider audience.

G-Plan mid fifties glamour

Gomme updated the style of G-Plan throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies. The original light look of Brandon gave way to darker tola, or African mahogany. In the mid to late fifties there was a fashion for black ebonised legs and brass fittings. G-Plan followed this trend and upgraded its furniture with a glamorous look.

Lumbered with Limba, G-Plan's functional Limba range did not sell well

Initially, Gomme's success did not last into the early sixties.  For G-Plan, 1960 was a bad year. The new G-Plan range for 1960 was not inspiring; it was yet another variation on tola, black and brass, which was already old fashioned.

Gomme introduced numerous different designs in an attempt to recapture the magic G-Plan formula. The severe and functional Limba bedroom range, designed by Leslie Dandy, ought to have been a best seller. Limba was veneered in a straight grain wood to make matching easy, but it stood on metal legs and looked a little like office furniture. The trade loved it; the public hated it. Limba was too advanced for its time; retailers soon cursed it as they were stuck with pieces of the unpopular Limba range in their showrooms. "Lumbered with Limba", was a phrase in common currency.

The World's Most Comfortable Chair

G-Plan: The World's Most Comfortable Chair

Although Limba was a disaster for Gomme, the firm had one notable success in 1962. It introduced a large, rounded swivel armchair with wings. It was available in several fabrics, but the buttoned black vinyl was a sixties style classic. This chair was very much a male thing; it could have come straight out of a James Bond movie. It was the chair that Michael Caine as Jack Carter, knocked Cliff Brumby into in the classis film "Get Carter". The inspiration for the chair was probably Arne Jacobsen's Egg Chair of 1958, which was similar in shape, but plainer. Gomme proudly proclaimed that it was the World's Most Comfortable Chair.

Ib Kofod-Larsen and G-Plan's first teak furniture

G-Plan went Danish in 1962. In an attempt to stop losing sales to Scandinavian imports, they hired their own Danish designer, Ib Kofod-Larsen. He designed a complete new range for Gomme, G-Plan Danish, in 1962. The highlight of the range was a 7 ft 6 inch sideboard in teak, which had unusual square rosewood handles. It was in the latest fashion of the era and looked stunning. The G Plan Danish sideboard sold for 61 10s [897 in todays money], which was rather expensive for a mass-market piece.

G-Plan Fresco

In the late sixties, the sculptured look was the new fashion and G-Plan led the market. They introduced their most successful range of teak furniture, Fresco, in 1967. G-Plan Fresco featured deeply sculptured handles and legs, combined with strongly patterned teak veneers. The new G-Plan Fresco dining set for 1967 had an extendible circular table and four dining chairs with padded circular seats and backs. The circle theme was a favourite of mid-sixties' design. The chairs had sculptured legs finishing in a circle at the top and bottom. The sideboard was large at 7 ft in length. It had the distinctive sculptured handles, which on the drawers appeared to imitate a smile. Fresco was for the bedroom as well as the dining room. There were Fresco wardrobes and chests of drawers, as well as a new dressing table. The dressing table had a special hidden drawer for jewellery. At 5 ft wide, it looked very impressive in the right room.

G-Plan's success continued into the 70s

G-Plan in the seventies

Gomme continued with teak designs in the seventies. The Company positioned itself at the top of the popular market. The emphasis was on design and quality, rather than price.

G-Plan on the Golden Shot

ATVs popular game show "The Golden Shot", hosted by Bob Monkhouse, assisted by Anne Aston, offered a G-Plan Fresco dining suite and a G-Plan reclining chair as prizes in 1971.

This article is adapted from The G-Plan Revolution by Basil Hyman and Steven Braggs.

More on G-Plan

See also The High Wycombe Furniture Archive which contains an extensive collection of images from the history of the furniture trade including a large selection of G-Plan images.


Your comments on G-Plan furniture

"I have a coffee table which I inherited from my late parents, I am almost sure that it is G.Plan. but cannot find a stamp on it. All of their furniture was always G.Plan. It is a typical G .Plan style circular spider base and the glass fits into the teak base. Do you know if all G.Plan furniture was Stamped, or anyone that I can contact who would be able to advise me. Any knowledge of this would be most grateful." Anita Boutle

G-Plan red label, late 60s

Hi Anita, G-Plan certainly did make glass teak glass topped tables as you described. All G-Plan furniture is marked. However, from the late sixties, red stickers, left, with G-Plan were used instead of the G-Plan stamp used on older G-Plan furniture. It may very well be G-Plan as the label might have come off over the years. However, tables in this style were made by other manufacturers in the late sixties and early seventies. Retrowow

"I have a teak sideboard, I am fairly sure it is by Ib-koford Larsen but I am not totally sure. It's the sideboard on the poster for 'Younger' 746 Fonseca in your retro sideboards page. I am trying to find out if it has any value! It has a younger tag on the back of the top drawer. many thanks." Josh "p.s. what a fantastic website!"

Hi Josh, The sideboard is manufactured by Younger. It is not G-Plan and won't be designed by Ib Kofod-Larsen. He designed for Gomme, i.e. G-Plan. It may have been by John Herbert who was Younger's design director in that period. Younger was more expensive than G-Plan, and was very high quality furniture, not quite in the Gordon Russell, or Archie Shine league.

As far as value is concerned, it all depends on condition. The best way to get an idea of value is to look on eBay completed listings for similar items. I'd guess around 200+ for a good Younger sideboard. Retrowow

"Fascinating article, thanks. I'm a little surprised, having searched completed listings, at how low the prices for G Plan tables are. Specifically, the teak extending dining table with 2 inverted 'T' shaped legs. Is there a tendency for these to be faked? Are there a lot of repro ones about? Hence the low prices for these?" Paddy

I think that there was quite a lot of G-Plan about in the 60s and 70s and demand has not caught up with supply. All depends on condition though. There is a large amount of G-Plan furniture around that would need considerable restoration work. Retrowow

"Hi, My mom and I were just looking at her G-Plan bedroom set that she brought from Scotland that was purchased in 1962. Even though it's been across the sea, and moved many times it's still in great condition. We were just wondering about the value of it. She has a dressing table and mirror, and an armoire. The dressing table has 3 middle drawers and 2 cabinets, and the armoire has 2 bottom drawers and 2 shelves behind double doors. Thanks for any help. " Alison Watters

Hi Alison, I usually find the best way to value G-Plan is to see what similar pieces sell for on eBay. There is a lively market for G-Plan on eBay and it is the best place to buy and sell. At a guess I'd say the dressing table and wardrobe would be worth 50 to 100 each. Retrowow

"I have the original Scroll and Anchor G-Plan settee which was purchased in October 1967 from G-Plan's shop in Kilburn. It has the original dralon covering. I understand there were only 3 settees of this model made, ours was the Bronze dralon, there was also the gold dralon and moquette version. It is roughly 12ft long plus the end corner scroll which is 6ft deep. We also have a G-Plan dressing table and free standing matching 3 door wardrobe, which is flat packed. Because our settee takes up a lot of room we are having to consider selling it as our present living room is too small to take the full length of the settee. If I put it on E-Bay how much do you think our settee would be worth now being as it is 42 years old. Also our dressing table and wardrobe which needs attention to the paintwork. " Mrs J Evans

Hi, It is difficult to tell with sofas. Recently a G-Plan corner unit sold for 90, but another sofa only sold for 10. It all depends on condition. There is also a very good looking G-Plan Saddle suite on a Buy-it-Now for 250. Retrowow

"I have recently per chest two G-Plan brown leather armchairs. The retailer said they were 1950s. They have small wooden stool like feet around 14cm off the ground which point outwards. Were you sit is fabric. There's nine leather buttons on the front of them. I was wondering how much they were worth if i was to sell them at a auction or even EBay. Can u help me?" Nick Parker

Hi, The best way to value furniture is to have a look at completed listings on eBay to find something similar. Do they have a G-Plan label or stamp? Retrowow

"We have a g-plan sideboard, oak wood with splayed legs done in black, purchased 57/58. This sideboard was designed to have a matching hutch place on the top, alas we didn't purchase one at the time. Now retired and would like to make a hutch for our sideboard, but I can't find a picture of one. Can you assist by directing me to a publication which would show a picture of this matching hutch. Many thanks. J. Siner." Jon A. Siner

"my grandfather has a late sixties round extendable table four chairs and i think the seven foot sideboard all in rosewood all are spotless and wants rid of them any idea of value" Simon Shaw

Hi Simon, G-Plan did a Danish style sideboard in rosewood veneer, but I don't think it was 7 feet. These may be by a more expensive maker than G-Plan: either Scandinavian, or by Younger, or Archie Shine. The value will be quite high. From 250 to 2000 for the sideboard depending on the maker. The table and chairs will be worth a similar amount. My recommendation is to look through eBay completed listings to find something similar to get and idea of the price. Retrowow

"We purchased a G-Plan table, six chairs, sideboard and drinks cupboard around 1981. The table and chairs are now with my daughter and we have kept the rest. One of the dining room chairs has a horizontal split in a back leg (near the seat) and all need re-caning and re-seating. Unfortunately I can't remember the range name to try to replace the broken chair - can you help? The sideboard is two tone, lighter wood with a distinctive grain for the most part with dark wood vertical handles. The table is also light with dark legs and the chairs are dark with cane backs. If it helps there is a printed number on the back of the sideboard - large 22 and a smaller 2682. Thanks for any help you can give." Rosemary Stevens

Hi Rosemary, the sideboard sounds like Fresco, which was G-Plan's most popular range. It was finished in teak with distinctively sculptured handles. I'm not sure about the chairs with cane backs, though. Retrowow

"Hi, I am a loss trying to find out the name of my parents G-plan dining suite. It is a large mahogany table -which extends. The chairs are cushioned with a velour dark beige and brown 'zig zag diamond pattern. There are two carvers and four regular chairs. They have a slatted back. They also bought a rectangular coffee table , nest of tables and corner crystal display cabinets and two drinks cabinets. They are all mahogany. My parents are looking to sell some of the suite, so I would be grateful if anyone had any info, or would know anywhere near East Grinstead that may sell/buy retro Gplan?

Many thanks for any help you can give Nicola p.s. I have looked on ebay and cannot find an exact match on the dining table etc" Nicola

"Hi there! I have the same problem as Nicola, we found (can you believe it!) a G-plan 3 piece bentwood suite (Samantha design I do believe it might be called) dumped unceremoniously by the roadside, enquiries led us to understand that the widow to whom they belonged had passed and the new owners had no need for it. It is in the most beautiful style and would imagine it is really comfortable as we have stripped the cushions for cleaning and have the suite bases in storage for the moment. We are keen to restore it fully and pass it on to someone who has the space to fully appreciate incredible curved 3-seater sofa and its perfectly matching armchairs. I have not been able to trace a single listing on the web incl ebay about the possible value of the suite and though it bears the G-plan branding I can't find a reference to the range at all. Are you able to advise at all please?" Lisa

Hi Lisa, The value of these suites depends on condition and how much someone else wants it. I have found that the most reliable way to value furniture is find a similar piece in eBay completed listings. A G-Plan 'Tulip' suite recently sold on eBay for 122 - see G-Plan 'Tulip'

"would like to refinish polish coffee table left it out side it got wet and has now gone grey on top ideas please" cdavid

I don't think the market for G-Plan is sufficiently mature for some pieces to be worth significantly more than others, except perhaps the Ib Kofod-Larsen designs, which 'Samantha' isn't. If you really like the piece, then restore it for your own use and don't worry too much about the value. Retrowow

"Hi there! how do you recognise then an Ib Kofod-Larsen in the G-plan range from the others. Did they have a distinctive stamp? thanks" Raquel

"I have inherited my parents G-plan dining set with 6 chairs, welsh dresser, corner unit with show case and bookcase, continental headboard, dressing table and stool circa 1955-57. Is there anywhere in particular we should be trying to sell these items and have you an estimated price range. Many thanks. Steph" Stephanie Kaufman

Hi Steph, eBay is the best place to sell G-Plan. Look for similar items to get an idea of price, but bear in mind condition is very important. Retrowow

We have a whole bedroom suite of G plan fresco. Do you know an interested collector please??
Charlotte
Charlotte Banks

I have a dining suite with 4 chairs. The table is 137cm long and extends to 188cm with the leaf inserted (you pull either side of the top to slide out ti insert the leaf). It is 117cm wide.
It is teak on the top but the underframe and legs are ebonised. There is a brass cup at the end of the tapered leg. Each chair is slat backed and has a "bitter chocolate" velour seat.
Under the table on each section is a stamp impressed 105 with a 1 next to it.

I have searched the web and have not found anything like it.Any ideas to its value please?
Carol

I have been unable to sell a late 70's G-plan fresco dressing table with mirror,in good condition, for the past year or more.Valuers/auctioneers in this part of North Norfolk say there is absolutely no demand for retro teak furniture and I may as well dump it.Can this be true as it is, sentiment apart,still to my mind a splendid piece of beautifully styled and rich coloured teak bedroom furniture. Simply too large to fit into our bungalow.
Doug
Doug Crane

Hi Doug,

In response to your comment below, there is a strong demand for G-Plan especially teak G-Plan. Have a look on eBay. You will see pieces selling for more than 100. Some conventional auctions will take it, I guess they are more interested in Victoriana, which is comparatively less fashionable now.
Retrowow

Hi, have just bought a g plan chest of drawers with handles which are horizontal and oblong but slightly tapered at end end. This matches my Mum's wardrobe with the same handles which are situated vertically on the wardrobe. I think both pieces were bought around 1967. Does anyone know which style they are please? Deborah Wood

We bought G-Plan furniture in the 1950's when we married.
Always very well made,we had a sideboard with a glass front,
a 3-piece suite,then later on the Fresco units,which we still have. They are still as good as new.
Jean
Jean Singleton

I have G Plan 3 mirror long dressing table, centre shelf - two sides, one two drawer side, one small cabinet side...has had custom glass top since bought in 1068/9 - at furniture store in Dorchester, Dorset. It has trademark oval one piece 'legs' each end. Immaculate condition.
Also wardrobe...simple, two doors...g-planesque..bought at same time, and chest of drawers, five drawers with five inch
straight legs.
Please advise value. I will be selling.
irene freeman

I got a wardrobbe and dressing table of e.bay.It is old but very stylish i am 47, anyway i noticed on the left hand drawer on the dressing table had a g.plan gold stamp,is this of any significance at all on the item age is it valuble are you able to help,thankyou look forwoard to hearing from you.
yours faithfully
H.Denoon
Heather

Hi, Sorry it's hard to say from the description. The Gold label was used on G-Plan in the 50s and 60s. Later, from mid to late sixties they used a red label which was stuck onto the furniture. I hope this helps. Retrowow

Hi, what is the best way to remove scratches & marks off my teak G Plan furniture? James

hi i am turning my flat back to the 60s/70s era so far its going well.i wondered if anyone had any items for sale from those eras preferably cheap lol and local to leeds.in return i have for sale 2 seater mustard buttoned vinyl sofa,a 60s vanity unit complete with sink full surround unit with glass sliding doors and shelfs and sink slots into it.cheers.my email addy is lynnsnakekeeper@hotmail.co.uk. lynn

Use steelwool #000 wetted with teak oil, and simply rub very lightly in the direction of the grain until the scratch is gone.
Apply teak oil to a soft cloth and rub the entire piece of furniture to get the same finish all over.
Polish the entire piece with a dry cloth.

hope this helps james good luck.
lynn

My son has been left some g-plan furniture.The sideboard is long, with polished brass feet, bi-fold doors at either side,(one needing a small repair to the slider), and drawers in the centre, the top one being a cutlery drawer.They have hinged brass handles.

The dining table, when fully extended on its eight black legs,( with brass feet matching the sideboard), is an attractive ovoid shape.

The wood appears to be teak, and both pieces have the gold G-plan stamp.The sideboard also has a stamp with manufacturers info including a year, possibly 1960.The surfaces are a little faded but otherwise in good condition.

There are four woven-seat dining chairs in excellent condition, but these have no visible maker's mark that we can find, so I'm not certain whether these match the set.

I am trying to identify the range of furniture.I have seen identical items elsewhere on the net, but haven't come across the name.Can you help?
M Winfield

I a min Glastonbury at the moment and my aunty just passed away and thinking about taking her bedroom but the only problem is there is no wardrobe ,and i would like to match a 5 door wardrobe if possible,wonder if you can help me.thank you look forward to hearing from you,Regards Mary Mary

I have a re-covered black velour g plan swivel rock chair with rosewood legs. It approx 1960-1965. It is in good condition and |I have tried to sell in local paper but dont get any response. I have checked e bay and there are only 3 for sale currently. I really need the space and I need to get rid of it. Any reasoanable offers would be accepted. brenda mckendrick

I think we may have the g-plan reform 3-pce suite. Is there a picture of this anywhere to check. Also, what would the frame be made from, as we want to decide if it is worth restoring, as it will need new springs, fillings, covers, legs!

Thanks
hartley

I have a retro G-Plan Dining Table finished in teak, six chairs and two dressers that are joined by an overhead cupboard, 1960's. Would the black leather actually be real leather on the chairs?
I am having to dispose of the whole suite as I am down-sizing.
Very sad but there is just not enough room in my new bungalow.
Jannette

i have a five peice bedroom suite to sell all have a g plan stamp in them but also in a gold emblem what looks like the letters e or l k or b? do you know these initials. the suite consists of large robe with central mirror, mans fitted robe, oblong dressing table with stool and two 6 drawere chest of drawers, these were bought in 1969. infact its 6 peices with the stool, all in good condition and im looking for 300.00 for the lot. to be collected is this a steal. june knott

I have some G-Plan bedroom furniture, do you know how I can get in touch with collectors? Anne Hardinges

Hi
I have some quality peieces of the original G PLAN

My father bought various items from a store in London in 1957

A wardrobe, table and chairs, chest of drawers etc
I have the original receipt for the purchase as well and the cost was 248 7s 6d

A lot of money in those days.

Do you know of any collectors that would be interested in puchasing the items or places that deal in this type of furniture

Regards

Roy Cheesman
Roy Cheesman

Where can I get my extensive inherited G plan furniture restored... It's perfectly sound but very stained and very, very smelly. I have a chest of drawers(tollboy), dressing table (with sconces) or should that be distressing table (it's quite spoilt), with stinky felt interior and 2 bedside tables(which look awful), 1 large ladies wardrobe and 2 coffee tables(bought 2nd hand). Any ideas anyone? I'm based in S/East London and have transport... Cheers.

=)
Victoria

That sofa is exactly what I am looking for...I live in Northeast Florida. Can you recommend a source for me to find such piece? Chris Hendrix

Hi Chris,

The sofa above is G-Plan Danish. The designer is Ib Kofod-Larsen. I have found that eBay is the best place to buy G-Plan. However, I'm not sure how much of it there is in the US.

You might want to look for Danish furniture, which was popular in the US from the late 50s to the 70s.

regards
Retrowow

Am looking for the extending circular dining table and four dining chairs from the teak "fresco" range dating back to 1978. The back of the chairs have a lovely woven-type panel. Would need them to be in REALLY excellent condition. Possible glitch - shipping to Ireland necessary! Margie

I boughgt a G plan coffee table in 1997, square with a glass square in the middle. It used to have a copper inlay between the seams but had been discontinued when I purchased one. Unfortunately it was damaged recently by plaster boared from the ceiling and so I am hopeful that you may be able to help. Jan Goodbody

Ooops, apologies Chris, I bought the coffee table in 1977 (not 1997)

I bought a G plan coffee table in 1997, square with a glass square in the middle. It used to have a copper inlay between the seams but had been discontinued when I purchased one. Unfortunately it was damaged recently by plaster boared from the ceiling and so I am hopeful that you may be able to help. Jan Goodbody
Jan Goodbody

Where is the best palce to sell a 1960's 7ft. 3ins G. Plan solid sideboard, we have had no luck on E-bay. It is a classic piece 3 drawers 2 bifold door compartments and a drop down drinks cabinet, it has been owned by us since 1960. We can not understand the lack response we are getting. pam and david

Hi Pam and David,
I would still say eBay. Make sure you have good quality photographs, a good description and a realistic starting price.

Have a look at similar pieces that have sold and compare and follow their layout and pricing.
Retrowow

hi,i have a 9piece g plan wall unit,that im looking 2 sell. Do you know of any collectors and how much i should ask for it? fi

I want to research a g-plan sideboard. It is teak 4 doors & 4 drawers. I cant see a g-plan tag on it so does all original gplan furniture have these tags. Ann Reddin

Hi Ann,

All G-Plan would have have had a red G-Plan sticker or a gold emobsed G-Plan brand when it was made. Gomme was very proud of the G-Plan brand. That doesn't mean the stickers might not have come off.

Can you send me a picture of the sideboard?
Retrowow

Hello
Enjoyed reading your overview, did g plan make any purpose built office desks as I have a black plastic topped what can only be described as a standard office desk with 2 drawers to the right side. Unlike a lot of the desks which are really dressing tables on ebay this has handles on the drawers which I have seen on a koford larsen ? piece on the net.
Thanks in advance for your help in identifying this g plan piece.
NB. The G plan mark is quite faint not gold and looks like the capital letters E & G are also printed on the inner section of top drawer.
Thank you
Matt
Matt Pepper

Hi Matt,
I don't think G-Plan made office furniture. Most of the 'desks' I have seen have seen are the Fresco dressing table with the mirror removed. You can always tell, because the Fresco dressing table had a jewelery drawer which you can see at the top of the desk.

I don't think Ib Kofod-Larsen designed desks for Gomme, but I may be wrong. All G-Plan Danish pieces (i.e. designed by Ib Kofod-Larsen) are marked with his signature and 'G-Plan Danish design'
Retrowow

Hi
I have G plan 8 drawer G plan Bedroom Drawers white front drawers teak main casing.
Coffee table
Dark wood corner cupboard and two bookcases 1 with glass front 1 with wood doors.
Where is the best site to sell and what price should I let them go for?
All inm good condition.
Eileen Paterson

I have a traditional oval original G Plan glasstopped coffee table plus a nest of 3 tables in G Plan that I want to sell, they need restoration so I am actually happy to give them away. I also have a White and Newton sideboard, this also needs restoration and just needs a new home LINDA WESTON

Hi there, I have a teak G Plan sideboard about 7 feet long with double doors either side four drawers (the top one a cutlery drawer. It is in pretty good nick apart from it has two or three dark rings (which look like/are burn marks or very old red wine marks) on the top and a patch which is lighter (ab out the size of a place mat, this could have been caused by a hot dish). How do I go about restoring this - do I need to strip it, sand the top and put teak oil on? I would be grateful for any help. Cheers, Liz Liz Chidlow

 

 
 

Retrowow

Your guide to vintage and retro