G Plan 1960s and 1970s vintage chests of drawers are always well made , and very consistent in quality unlike some British and Danish makes .
In the late 1950s and into the early 1960s G Plan were mainly using a dark wood called tola . The design in favour was an Italian style on black legs . They also sold variations of this design in light oak , often with a Chinese white painted finish . We don’t buy the tola ones , but do look out for the light oak and painted ones , which are much harder to find .
In the very early 1960s G Plan lost their way a little . They introduced a bedroom range in a light wood called Limba which stood on metal legs . This proved very unpopular , probably because the metal legs are rather stark and cold . Another short lived range was The Young Ideas Range designed by Richard Young in c 1962 . Richard Young would become best known for his lovely stylish designs for Merrow Associates in the 1970s . We like the Young Ideas Range in light oak and a white finish , which was mainly designed for children’s and teenage bedrooms , but it doesn’t appear much and is little known . We have a pair of chests available at present , and they’re shown in this blog .
In 1962 The Danish Design range by the well-known Danish designer Ib Kofod Larsen was introduced to much acclaim . It was G Plan’s first use of teak , and was a premium range at a premium price compared to their other pieces . The square divided handles are veneered in rosewood , and the chests stand on a very stylish base . This design was used on a range of pieces , from dining room sideboards to various bedroom pieces .
The Danish Design chests were similar in width to a Danish chest of drawers at the time . This didn’t fit in so well in smaller houses , and G Plan felt there was a need to come up with a range in the same kind of style , but of different proportions . The first range that was launched in teak after the Danish Range was the Quadrille Range designed by a little known designer called R.Bennett . Even his first name doesn’t seem to be recorded ! It was launched in 1965 .
The Quadrille Range also came with handles veneered in rosewood , but sometimes the grain is not so obvious as it would be on larger surfaces . The bases of these pieces is very distinctive , and was used also on sofas and chairs , but few survive . The most successful use of the Quadrille design was on the G Plan nests of tables which were popular and made for many years , whereas the bedroom range was superceded in 1968 by the extremely successful Fresco Range . The Quadrille Range must have carried on for a couple of years , but was mainly produced from 1965 -1970 , by which time Fresco had taken complete hold of G Plan production .
G Plan’s most prolific and successful designer was Victor Bramwell Wilkins who designed the Fresco Range which was launched in 1968 . This range was to be the mainstay of G Plan’s cabinet making production for over a decade . The same handle appears on every piece of bedroom furniture they made from about 1970 to 1980 , as well as on most of the vast proportion of their sideboards and highboards . It was also used on wall units , TV stands and other pieces . It must rank with Stag’s Minstrel range designed by John + Sylvia Reid as the most successful British furniture design of the era .
The Fresco Range chests of drawers appeared in various sizes . 3 drawer ones for large bedsides , 4 drawer ones , and the rarer 6 drawer and double width 8 drawer ones . The range also included bedside cupboards with 1 drawer over an open cupboard , and of course the so-called Continental Headboard with a drawer to each side standing on a central leg .
In the late 60s and 70s it must have been the 4 drawer chests that were most popular with buyers , as this is the size that’s seen most often . Today it’s the taller narrow 6 drawer chests that are most in demand as bedroom sizes diminish and people have more clothes than back in the 60s and 70s !