80’s design classic: Dorothy Hafner’s Flash

Dorothy Hafner plates | The Chromologist

Image courtesy of Homeplace customer Jocie

Through their online boutique Homeplace, Wendy and James Aldridge have been quietly reviving an eye-popping ceramic sensation from the 1980’s. Flash tableware was designed by Dorothy Hafner for Rosenthal in 1982 and became an icon for the era that is now firmly back in favour. As Wendy points out, “there was nothing quite like it before, and there has been nothing quite like it since.”

Dorothy Hafner is an American painter and sculptor who started her career in ceramics in 1973. She has designed numerous tableware collections for brands such as Rosenthal and Tiffany & Co and is also known for one-off sculptures and mosaic glass works. Her work can be found in the V&A and the Smithsonian Institute among other museums. On her own website she references the sea, music and dance as influences for her work, but she was also once quoted in The New York Times saying, “I look at everything – even pink chewing gum embedded in tar. I mean, that’s hot pink squashed in black. If you can’t find beauty where you live and work, you should move somewhere else.”

Dorothy Hafner  Flash One  the ChromologistDorothy Hafner Flash One  The ChromologistFlash pieces sold at Homeplace

The Flash collection has been referenced in many books covering the history of ceramics and design. As it’s no longer in production, pieces in pristine condition are becoming scarcer so keep your eyes peeled for stock over at Homeplace – and if you’re lucky enough to stumble across it at a car boot sale, don’t leave it there.

“All the pieces in the line have been created with a function in mind, but they are like little pieces of art in themselves and are just as at home as display pieces,” says Wendy Aldridge. “I find the design very optimistic and love cracking out one of her side plates for a slice of toast on a dull grey morning.”


Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

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