The liturgy ideally requires one to go around the altar.
Sure, but there have always been places where this was not possible, where it wasn't post-Tridentine influence, and where life and liturgy went on.
Anyway, the Syriac and Armenian altars in the photos above are all freestanding (with the possible exception of the Assyrian one depicted). Generally, at least the main altar (if a church has more than one) will be freestanding. If we have to use an altar that's against a wall, we adapt--the ceremonial changes very little.
More than two candles on the altar is a post-tridentine development...
Source? Because I'm not sure how universally you can make this claim. I've never come across it before.
To Keble's point about candles in the days before electricity you responded with the claim that their multiplication happened when windows became bigger. But there are many old churches in India where the altar area has little or no windows, and whatever light does filter through the nave is not nearly enough to read. Twelve or thirteen candles on the altar is par for the course.
And that's beside the point that other traditions utilise seven-branched candelabra or other types of lighting.
...and the gradines are there to put all the candles on. Besides that, it often looks dreadful, especially if the row of candles covers a reredos or altar piece.
Anything good can be done dreadfully, so I'll leave that aside.
Gradines are actually a feature of Syriac altars; if many of ours use the Western style gradine, there are still others which use only one "shelf", or even an older form which I haven't seen any other tradition use:
The candles are usually placed on them, but not always exclusively. They can also be used for anything needed for the service of the Liturgy that ideally, should not be placed on the mensa. Usually the altar cross is placed on it, but also relics, holy water, cruets, etc.
What tradition is your base line for comparing others?