Circles versus Rectangles, fashion, supply and demand! G Plan and Nathan

Circles versus rectangles, fashion, supply and demand! G Plan and Nathan.

In the early 1960’s like previous generations it was mainly rectangular dining tables that were popular but as the 1960’s progressed circular ones along with some ovals became the fashion. G Plan by 1970 were virtually only selling circular and oval tables and today we see far more of them than rectangular ones. McIntosh moved from all rectangular to a mix of both as did many of their competitors. I don’t know whether it’s cheaper to produce rectangular ones or not and what lead G Plan to move in that direction in the late 1960’s. Maybe they saw squarer smaller dining rooms being built in the many new large housing estates that were popping up all over the country and that they looked better in a square room. Danish makers also moved to circular and oval in the later 1960’s and continued in that direction into the 1970’s.

Today rectangular is most popular again. Fewer people now have a separate dining room as they are often incorporated into larger open plan living rooms or kitchens or being used for different purposes. Those that are still being used tend to be the larger ones where rectangular tables look best.

The main exception to rectangular being the popular shape for tables are the neat Danish Frem Rojle sets and cheaper British versions by McIntosh where chairs sit neatly into the rim of the table.

We see lots of standard G Plan circular and oval tables with high backed chairs and they’re terrific value as supply is high and demand is low. Unfortunately if the tops are marked it takes a long time to remove the polyurethane varnish that G Plan used as a finish before they can be cleaned and oiled. It costs too much to do the work, so it’s best to sit and wait for one to come up that’s in really nice vintage condition and seen little use.

Danish tables were usually oval as they were bought for larger houses , and usually they don’t have such a high varnished finish so are easier to clean. They’re often pedestal based rather than legs to each ” corner ” so nobody gets a leg, so great for comfort, but less steady perhaps. They offer fantastic value currently.

Circles and rectangles also appear on Nathan sideboards and rectangles on their wall units. Currently its circles that are in demand as regards their 1960’s sideboards and rectangles are not! Magazines and features on TV definitely have an influence on the taste of the buying public. Nathan furniture was never cheap and today it’s one of the few firms from the 1960’s that are still making today and their current ranges are expensive compared to the flood of furniture imported from countries where labour is cheap. Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s Nathan was cheaper and less well made and finished than G Plan and McIntosh and also a lot lighter in weight.

There is a model of Nathan sideboard that you’ll see that is known for obvious reasons as the Circles. Until a couple of years ago it wasn’t very popular and we bought a couple cheaply and sold them to a Chinese dealer . At first they didn’t sell but suddenly both went and people were asking for them ! Apparently one had been shown in an influential magazine and they were in demand. We were asked for more but of course other dealers were also getting the same requests. A model that had sold for around £100-£150 in auctions and on Ebay had suddenly jumped to £350 as a result which is more than a much better quality G Plan one. At that price the profit margin is virtually zero.

Such is fashion, supply and demand.