Spotlight on Ib Kofod-Larsen designs for G Plan

Spotlight on Ib Kofod-Larsen designs for G Plan

Spotlight on Ib Kofod-Larsen designs for G Plan

Ib Kofod-Larsen 1921-2003 must have been approached by E Gomme – whose brand name became G Plan in the mid 1950s – in around 1961 as they launched their Danish Design Range in 1962  . The earliest leaflets for the range date to 1963 . We’ve had one of their 1963 Danish catalogues for a while now , but recently found a superb original matching swing ticket label when we bought a set of bedroom furniture from the range . It’s the first time we’ve seen one in the 15 years we’ve been buying G Plan !

Along with a photograph of Ib there is some interesting text which doesn’t appear in the Danish Design leaflet . It starts ” Ib Kofod-Larsen , m.A.A , is one of Denmark’s leading young designers and has a growing international reputation . He is a qualified architect and noted for the schools , banks and houses he has designed as well as for his beautiful work in furniture , fabrics and silver , With all this tremendous versatility , furniture design is still his chief interest . Larsen himself thinks this is because of his feel for wood , which is reflected in the beautiful sculptural quality of his furniture ”

He was apparently given a 10 year contract to design for G Plan for a payment of £2000 a year , which today equates to over £40000 . Not a fortune , but he was also designing for various Danish companies , as well as a Swedish and an American manufacturer . Then there was also his architectural and other design work also . He was certainly still adding new designs to the G Plan Danish range until around 1965/66 , but no new pieces were shown in the catalogue after this date . If you go online and look at the G Plan /Gomme archives held at  High Wycombe you’ll see a number of his designs which were never put into production as they were considered either too Danish or too expensive to produce unfortunately . It’s not apparent whether he actually carried on receiving payments until the end of the 10 year contract or not , but by 1970 his £2000 a year would no longer be as valuable as it was in 1962 due to inflation .

Our collection of G Plan catalogues which is fairly comprehensive stops showing his designs in around 1967/68 , however there are features of other ranges by their own in-house designed Victor Bramwell Wilkins which were heavily influenced by those of Ib Kofod-Larsen which took G Plan production well into the late 1960s . Later ranges such as Fresco c 1968 which were made well into the 1970s also show his influence , so their investment of £2000 a year was well spent in the long term .

1967 was a pivotal year for the British economy , a devaluation of the pound along with austerity and higher taxes for the wealthy , combined with lower taxes for lower earners meant that premium ranges such as the Danish range were no longer so successful . If you look at the furniture of their up-market competitor A Younger in 1967 compared to the ranges available in their 1968 catalogue there is a definite shift  . 1968 Younger ranges were reduced in number and finishes and designs were obviously set so that would be cheaper and more competitive to suit the current British market .

The Danish Design range was more expensive than the G Plan standard ranges , but not vastly different . By spending some 15% -20% more in the early to mid-1960s British buyers could get much better quality and get great Danish design , made in the UK for less than it would have cost to buy Danish made pieces . Today there is a massive gulf between mass market designs and those for the top end of the market , there was not such a gap in the 1960s , but then also the difference in pay today between somebody on manual wages and those at the top is much more noticeable than it was in 1964 !

Ib Kofod-Larsen designed some great pieces for G Plan which have stood the test of time , but other lovely pieces were never put into production unfortunately as you’ll see if you look at the High Wycombe archive .

G Plan not only employed a great furniture designer , but also they must have employed a really good graphic designer as their 1963 catalogues are absolutely beautiful . They look really modern and fresh today unlike their later glossy catalogues which became the norm by 1965 and onwards .

Spotlight on Ib Kofod-Larsen designs for G Plan

Spotlight on Ib Kofod-Larsen designs for G Plan