Good value British alternatives to the Frem Rojle Roundette table and chairs
Demand for the iconic Roundette sets designed by Hans Olsen has pushed prices up noticeably in the last year . We’ve had 2 sets sell within a couple of weeks even though they were priced at about 50% more than we were asking in 2019 ! The Hans Olsen design apparently dates to 1953 , but most sets we see were bought in the early to mid 1960s . From our research it appears that an extending table with 4 chairs would have cost you £102 in 1965 and £130 with 6 chairs . This equates to £2086 and £2660 taking into account Brtish inflation since that date . New Danish and British made furniture today costs far more to produce than it did in the 1960s with far fewer craftsman available and scarcity of proper teak , so a straight forward inflation cost doesn’t tell the full story .
The first obvious British version of a Roundette is one produced by McIntosh of Kirkcaldy and probably designed by Tom Robertson . This first seems to appear in a February 1965 catalogue and is called Forum and was available for £77 6 shillings in teak or for £90 9 shillings in rosewood . This means it was just under 25% cheaper than the Frem Rojle set at the time . That was a typical difference in price between mid-range Danish and mid-range British and we rate McIntosh as mid-range at the time .McIntosh quality particularly as regards their dining tables and sideboards was similar to that of Frem Rojle , but their dining chairs were not . The table is lovely , but the chairs just aren’t as nice as the Frem Rojle ones and they don’t sit as snugly and as stylishly into the table , but at the time they were made a 25% price difference was a major consideration to most British buyers . Times change and today 25% is not that much of a difference and does not get you much more . We’ve just listed a McIntosh Forum teak table and 4 chairs which is shown in these photos . The table has been fully cleaned and the chairs have been re-upholstered . We’ve put it on the website at £975 . The Frem Rojle set we’ve just sold was priced at 250% more ! That makes the McIntosh set great value .
Next British version to come on to the market was from White and Newton of Portsmouth with the Tintagel in 1967 . White and Newton had a talented young designer in Phillip Hussey and were selling to a similar customer base as McIntosh and G Plan . Like McIntosh their sideboards and dining tables are nicely made and of good quality . Their dining chairs are not quite as good . We haven’t got a White and Newton pricelist , but know that their standard designs would have been similarly priced as McIntosh . We have a Tintagel table and 4 chairs also just come in , but this is still in vintage condition needing a clean and re-upholstery . Again we’ve shown it in some of the photos . Restored and with new upholstery it would end up slightly cheaper than the McIntosh .
G Plan also made a circular extending teak dining table which was matched with various chairs over its long and successful run . None of the chairs slotted into the table the way the McIntosh or White and Newton did , although one chair design comes fairly close . This is the chair they made in the late 1960s with a circular seat and curved upholstered back that some people wrongly describe as an Ib Kofod Larsen design . G Plan dining chairs are noticeably better than Mcintosh or White and Newton , but they came from High Wycombe which had been a noted centre for chair production for well over a century . A Younger who in the the 1950s and 60s were a more up-market maker than G Plan used a High Wycombe chair specialist to make their dining chairs .
The last and cheapest version of a Frem Rojle Roundette came from Nathan , who unlike most of their competitors are still making today . Their version seems to date from the 1970s , and neither the table nor the chairs are as nicely made or finished as the McIntosh Forum or White and Newton Tintagel . Nathan on the whole were always aiming for a more price conscious customer than G Plan , McIntosh etc , but occasionally in the 1960s did venture into more expensive ranges . We don’t normally buy much Nathan furniture and don’t have any photos of their version . We have had one in the past which we sold in vintage condition to a Japanese customer who asked us to look out for one .