Probably the most beautiful of the G Plan Highboard Sideboards, this vintage mid century high sideboard has a huge amount of storage. It has great retro style and offers so much storage space behind its three drawers and various cupboard doors. The upper left door has a kitschy and cool sliding motion and there’s a smart little drinks cabinet that’s just the perfect place for concocting cocktails. It also provides great display shelving on its two levels.
British furniture manufacturing company GPlan was launched in 1953, but its roots go back much further. In 1898, Ebenezer Gomme (1858–1931) set up a fine woodworking atelier, E. Gomme Ltd., in High Wycombe, England, a major center of British furniture manufacturing. By the early 1900s, E. Gomme had transitioned into a larger factory facility, and in 1911, his sons took the helm. The company was revered for its range of high-quality sideboards, tables, and other cabinet goods and for pioneering the concept of dining room sets, designed and made to match.
E. Gomme continued to flourish until the 1940s. During World War II, Britain experienced a timber shortage and the British government was forced to enact strict controls on “unnecessary” industries like furniture production. This led to a program called the Utility Scheme, which was intended to cultivate a market for more austere and utilitarian solutions to home goods.
Although most of the British public reverted to traditional tastes after the war, there was a small but growing market for high-quality, modernist furniture, and G-Plan successfully spoke to this younger, more progressive audience. Through clever marketing campaigns, G-Plan set the standard for modernist, mass-market furniture in postwar Britain. G-Plan’s C Range, with an aesthetic that celebrated its machine production, was launched in 1953, and by 1957 it had become enormously popular.
By the 1960s, the Scandinavian look was sweeping international design, and British-made furniture was being outsold by Danish imports. To compete, G-Plan brought in Danish designer Ib Kofod-Larsen to create new collections in fine woods, like teak and rosewood. While these Kofod-Larsen pieces have become very collectible today, at the time, they were not well appreciated by the design community—perhaps viewed as lesser variations on the furniture available from Scandinavia. Despite the competition, G-Plan remained one of the most recognized names in furniture manufacturing in the UK through the end of the 1970s.