In the 1960s and 1970s G Plan produced an amazing selection of coffee tables and side tables . They were the largest UK maker of contemporary furniture over those 2 decades , but came up with considerably more designs for occasional tables than any of their competitors . We’ve never counted the different designs , but there must be over 40 models , sometimes in 2 or 3 sizes .
Their next biggest rival McIntosh probably only produced 10 or 12 over the same period . If you then look at slightly smaller firms like White + Newton , Younger , Austinsuite , Jentique , Greaves + Thomas , Ercol , Meredew , Dalescraft , Nathan and others you will find very few designs around .
Stateroom , who were a much cheaper and smaller brand than G Plan were the only company that we can think of who produced a range of distinctive designs in Britain , and that was mainly in the 1970s when they had 5 different shapes available , but they were all variations on a theme , whereas G Plan came up with totally different models over some 20 years .
The most iconic G Plan coffee tables are those today known as the Astro and spider tables . At the time it was the model most people call the spider that was the only one to be given a name , and that was the real ” astro ” ! These models all had glass insert tops , and G Plan followed them up with other smart tables with glass inserts in the 1970s , and also some which are much less popular today with tiled tops .
Prior to c 1968 it was mainly designs with teak or the earlier tola tops that G Plan came up with . It was the Victor Wilkins ” astro” designs that started the real explosion of different models , some more popular than others then and now . We think that some of the more understated models are currently undervalued .
The great thing about G Plan furniture from the 1960s and 70s was that they never compromised on quality of materials or workmanship , which was amazingly steady throughout . Other firms over the years compromised on quality to keep demand steady , but this was never the case with them .
The most sought after G Plan coffee table is the so called ” spider ” , and it rarely appeared in their catalogues . We’ve got quite a collection of their brochures , but it doesn’t appear in any that we have although we did see one for sale on Ebay which illustrated it . We guess that it will have been around 25% more expensive when new than more standard models , and this would have been enough to keep demand down c 1970-75 when the British economy was struggling .
Apart from coffee tables and side tables G Plan also offered around 8 different nests of tables from c 1965 to 1980 . Many of their competitors didn’t produce any recognisable designs , and those that did made far fewer than G Plan .