Written by Dolores Browne — January 03, 2018



I first met Linda when a friend brought her to my studio in Philadelphia and she saw her articles pinned on my wall. We became friends. I never missed a Designers' Saturday after that and her books still remain in my library. The last time I saw Linda was when we had dinner together at 114 S 12th Street in Philadelphia.  The day before we viewed the Comcast Center and the new Paint Brush Sculpture at the PA. University of the Arts.   

Linda Foa was the long-time executive director of Designer’s Saturday, which was considered strategically important to the furniture design community.  She facilitated and coordinated the assembly of over 100 participating showrooms and propelled Designer’s Saturday into an international event. Ms. Foa and Brooke Astor were also founders of Furnish a Future that still gives furniture and household items to families that are homeless and moving into unfurnished housing.

As the director of marketing for the Architects and Designers Building for the last 12+ years, Ms. Foa is given much credit for increasing occupancy from 70% to 100%+ for the building’s 35+ luxury brand furniture showrooms.  She was cited and awarded for her contribution to marketing by Merchandise Mart Properties, and was beloved and sought after by the tenants in “her” A&D building. By her interest in others, her style, and her take no prisoners demeanor, you knew when she was “in the room.”

Ms. Foa was also an important editor at Fairchild’s Home Furnishings Daily and HFN.  While rearing her children, she wrote several cover lead articles for New York Magazine, articles for the New York Times Style Section, and co-authored Kids’ Stuff, the definitive furnishings guide to children’s furniture and home environments (Pantheon/Random House), and wrote the book, Furniture for the Workplace (PBC).

In addition, Ms. Foa coordinated her spouse Conrad Foa’s two political campaigns for NY State Senate.  She was a long-time Democratic District Leader for the Upper East Side and Chaired the Annual Gala for the Lexington Democratic Club for many years.

Her legacy includes much of the credit for creating, directing, and sustaining crucial family values for Conrad, their sons Barrett and Justin, and his sons Max and Luke. Linda kept bonds with her brother, Rudy Rimanich and his family, her mother-in-law, Marie Foa, and the Dickman and Pecorella families.

She and Conrad were both born in Wickersham Hospital (across the street from Bloomingdale’s); Linda was born there 51 weeks after Conrad.  Linda’s family resided in Jamaica Estates, NY,  where she graduated from The Mary Louis Academy.  Linda often referred happily to her university days at Parsons/NYU where she pursued a dual degree in Fashion and Fine Arts.  Even at Parsons, Linda’s beauty and astute sense of style were evident, and are still legendary.  Her natural beauty, slim figure, blue eyes, and straight, long, naturally blonde hair gave pause to many.

For 50 years, Linda and Conrad did everything (charity work, politics, business support, travel) together.  They really were inseparable. Her children, Justin (fifth generation and most successful, owner and CEO of the 155 year-old international insurance brokerage firm, Foa & Son) and Barrett (respected, multi-talented actor, singer, dancer and lead in two TONY Award-winning shows on Broadway, and currently an eight year series-regular on CBS’s NCIS Los Angeles) give testimony to her mothering skills.

For those who knew, loved, and admired her, Ms. Foa leaves a void that is impossible to fill. She died of breast cancer that metastasized into her brain and lungs. She died the way she wanted to die: peacefully, at home, in the loving arms of her family. Linda was an intelligent, confident, stylish and caring force of nature who will live in the hearts of her family all who knew her.

Written by Dolores Browne — November 29, 2016

Temple of Light


Founded in Iran in the mid-19th century, the Bahá’í faith is the most recent of the world’s independent religions. It encourages equality and world peace. In fact, light—a powerful symbol for many religions—stands for the “oneness of humanity” in the Bahá’í faith.

Almost a century later, the Bahá’í Temple for South America stands on the foothills overlooking Chile’s capital city, Santiago. The temple, or House of Worship, as Bahá’ís call it, is comprised of a dome-like building structured by nine arching translucent sails, nine entrances, and a 15-acre garden with nine pathways and nine fountains. Nine, as the highest single digit number, is a symbol of completeness and perfection.

After a ceremony with local authorities, diplomats, religious representatives (and a weekend of activities that gathered five thousand Bahá’ís from over 100 countries), the 30-million dollar project—funded through voluntary and anonymous contributions from Bahá’í members worldwide—is now officially open to the public.

After dozens of sites and 3 more years, a local architect gave them a new lead. Hariri visited the prospective land: a site in the Andean foothills that offered a sense of nature and at the same time urbanity, since it was located on the mountains at the very edge of the city. It was part of a local alumni club. The architect was taken close to a pond; Hariri, however, without knowing the reason, started walking uphill. He climbed more than 1,640 feet. He stopped more or less where the temple stands today. Right there, all alone, he started shouting to the group down the hill: “Guys, this is it!” But they could barely see him, let alone hear him. “I felt the temple, I just tell you. It just felt perfect,” asserts Hariri smiling widely. The next day Hariri took Juan Grimm, the landscape architect of the project, to the site: “It’s perfect,” he agreed. After years of searching together, they had found the right nature-city balance. The Bahá’ís managed to buy over 200 acres of land (the temple and garden only use 25 acres). Now, construction could really start.

“There’s a beautiful quotation in the Bahá writings, which inspired the entire project,” explained Siamak Hariri.  The Toronto-based firm that in 2003 won the open competition to design the temple, at the opening press conference. The passage in question describes a servant deep in prayer that, illuminated by his connection to god.  The idea that light could not only go through, but be truly captured, became essential to the design. The central scheme, then, was to build a double skin nonagon structure that could really “embody” light and, constructed with cast glass and translucent marble.

Hariri Pontarini Architects designers of the Temple of Light.



Written by Dolores Browne — November 18, 2016

Karl Stirner

 Good Bye My Good Friend and Teacher

 I first met Karl Stirner when I decided to take extra courses for credit at Temple University. Karl was my teacher and we bonded. We remained friends until his death a few months ago. We watched his talent grow and mature. We purchased a Karl Collection in the year 2000 that remain with us. We will greatly miss him as we do his young wife Gay who died a few years ago.

 Karl Stirner, the visionary artist whose admiration for Easton sparked an arts renaissance in his adopted hometown, died Thursday. He was 92.

 Stirner, an internationally acclaimed sculptor, inspired dozens of artists with his friendship, honesty and passion for the truth, friends said.

"He wasn't just bending metal," said Easton artist Berrisford Boothe, a longtime friend. "He understood the role of the artist.

"The reasons people make art is because their life has exposed them to experiences and phenomena that they have to translate," Boothe said. "Karl collected all this work but he also knelt in front of it every day. He was the highest-order artist in town."

Mayor Sal Panto Jr. confirmed Stirner's death early Friday afternoon.

"He was a dear friend to many and a favorite son of our city who will be greatly missed," Panto said in a statement.

In tribute to Stirner's contributions, Panto said, the Easton flag in Centre Square will be lowered to half-staff until Monday afternoon. The American flag already is at half-staff due to the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Stirner is memorialized in Easton by the Karl Stirner Arts Trail that opened along the Bushkill Creek in 2011. The 2.5-mile-long trail connects Third Street with the Simon Silk Mill redevelopment project along 13th Street.

He was among a few well-traveled artists who discovered Easton years ago, made it his home and encouraged others to follow. His wife, Easton District Judge Gay Elwell, died in December 2012.

Jim Toia, director of community-based teaching at Lafayette College's School of Visual Arts, said Stirner's advocacy and passion for Easton served to attract artists from multiple disciplines.

"Karl is and always will be an icon in this community as a true artist and staunch supporter of the arts in general," said Toia, who joined Lafayette in 1997 and is chairman of the Karl Stirner Arts Trail.

"He was a believer in Easton as an exceptionally rich arts community and he had everything to do with making it as rich as it is today."

Arrival in Easton

Stirner's main medium was iron. He maintained a Ferry Street studio that became a haven for other artists and hummed with the work of Stirner's grinders, drills and torches.

He came to Easton in 1983

Born in Germany, his family immigrated to the U.S. in 1927 and settled in Philadelphia. He left school at age 17 to master blacksmithing and metalworking and became a self-taught 

He taught at the Tyler School of Fine Art at Temple University, the Moore College of Art, Philadelphia College of Art and Swarthmore College.

Friends said it was only natural that Stirner would become a teacher -- something that stuck with him until the very end.

"In the beginning I had to work my ass off. I had to stay one step ahead of the students," he said in a 2000 interview. "I taught sculpture, jewelry making, painting. Being in charge is a responsibility. I was a teacher then but I've always been a doer."

Stirner was a World War II veteran, serving with the U.S. Army in New Guinea and the Philippines.

In Easton, he transformed an old warehouse and sewing factory at 230 Ferry St. into the Easton Arts Building -- a studio, gallery and living space that became a new beacon in an industrial city whose heyday had passed.

Stirner pioneered the growth of an arts enclave. In the mid-1980s, it was Stirner who approached Easton officials with the idea of holding an artists' loft seminar to promote the city's inexpensive real estate, large open studio spaces and architecture. It attracted more than 100 suitors, Panto said.

"There were other artists who came before him, but Karl stepped it up about five rungs on the ladder," Panto said. "Today we are truly a blossoming artists' community thanks to people like Karl."

A humble man

His three children recalled him as a strict but loving patriarch.

"We were very lucky to be raised by this very rare individual," said Heather Stirner Nutting, who moved back to Easton six months ago to be near her father.

Noelle Stirner said her father blew away his cardiologist's expectation by living and working into his 90s. She said her father was passionate about showcasing the city to other artists but humble about taking the credit for the city's turnaround.

Stirner is also survived by a son, Jonas Stirner.

Anthony Marraccini, who has co-run Connexions Gallery since 2003, said Stirner's influence was enormous. He took an interest in Marraccini's career even though he had a world-class reputation and Marraccini was just a young man with dreams.

"He could have been anywhere else in the world but he chose here," Marraccini said.

"He was a major force for developing the arts in Easton," said city artist Isadore Laduca, who teaches at Northampton Community College. Laduca was also taken under Stirner's wing. He noted Stirner's productivity even into his 90s.

Stirner's legacy is evident in the multiple galleries and art-friendly businesses in the Downtown.

"For a town of 27,000 people, there's a ton of art," Marraccini said. 

Ashton Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements, which were incomplete Friday. Family members said they expect a memorial will be held next week.

Boothe, a painter and digital artist who teaches at Lehigh University, recalled Stirner as a towering figure who was unpretentious and warm. He met Stirner in the 1980s after graduating from Lafayette College and they became close friends.

Other artists joked that Stirner was the "art pope" of Easton as they sought out his blessings and advice in their personal and professional lives, Boothe said.

His presence was powerful yet he maintained a humility that invited people, he said.

"You could always be exactly who you needed to be with him," Boothe said. "I have never met anyone else in my life who could occupy space and at the same time -- out of his grace and kindness of heart -- both be there and disappear so you could see yourself."

Supervising reporter Rudy Miller contributed to this article.

By Jim Deegan | For  


Written by Dolores Browne — July 10, 2016

Jaume Plensa at the Singh Center for Nanotechnology

Published on Nov 3, 2013

The Singh Center for Nanotechnology creates a world class research facility bringing science and technology together in one place. The Center landscapes courtyards and a green roof. A dramatic cantilevered forum for lectures and events and a multi-level galleria where visitors can watch scientists at work behind the vibrant orange class.


Written by Dolores Browne — April 13, 2016

Zaha Hadid Tribute

Farewell to Zaha Hadid, the grand dame of architecture (1950–2016)

Wallpaper just paid a beautifully tribute to Zaha who was an architect greatly admired by We purchased and sold her Genesey Lamp designed for Artemide in 2013.

The article was written by Ellie Stathak.

Dame Zaha Hadid, DBE passed away in Miami in the early hours of Thursday, 31 March. 

Few architects defined an era like Hadid did. Born in Baghdad in 1950 she began her journey in architecture at the Architectural Association in London in 1972, following a degree in mathematics at the American University of Beirut.

Her work stood out for its innovative approach, mesmerizing curves and beauty, that was simultaneously poetic and revolutionary. Her unique way of form-making was like nothing the architecture world had seen before and inspired a whole generation of architects. Her explorations in unexpected, dynamic shapes and innovative technologies transformed our perceptions of what architecture should look like and raised the bar for many who followed. 

Dame Zaha Hadid, DBE passed away in Miami in the early hours of Thursday, 31 March. 

Few architects defined an era like Hadid did. Born in Baghdad in 1950 she began her journey in architecture at the Architectural Association in London in 1972, following a degree in mathematics at the American University of Beirut.
Her work stood out for its innovative approach, mesmerizing curves and beauty, that was simultaneously poetic and revolutionary. Her unique way of form-making was like nothing the architecture world had seen before and inspired a whole generation of architects. Her explorations in unexpected, dynamic shapes and innovative technologies transformed our perceptions of what architecture should look like and raised the bar for many who followed.

Her ground-breaking practice kicked off with theoretical works such as The Peak in Hong Kong (1983), a competition that sadly never came to be built; the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin (1986); and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales (1994). Her own practice, Zaha Hadid Architects, was set up soon after graduation, in 1979, following a two-year period at the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).
Her first built project was the fairly modest (in size, at least) Vitra Fira Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany, completed in 1993. Once she started building, the world was charmed and commissions kept coming in. The list is long, notable buildings including the MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (2009); the celebrated London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games (2011); and the more recent Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku (2013).

Her work was as forward-thinking and thought provoking as it is timeless. 'Her work, though full of form, style and unstoppable mannerism, possesses a quality that some of us might refer to as an impeccable "eye" – which we would claim is a fundamental in the consideration of special architecture and is rarely satisfied by mere "fashion",' said Sir Peter Cook on the occasion of her 2016RIBA Royal Gold Medal win. 

Hadid was also widely recognized as one of the greatest female architects practicing internationally. And this is only one of the myriad ways her work stands out – for her distinctions were many. A 2004 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate (the first woman ever to receive the honor), she was also awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize twice, alongside more accolades in the UK and abroad. She was also one of the first ever Wallpaper* guest editors, lending her design charisma to our pages in 2008’s October issue.

Zaha Hadid
One of the greatest architect of the age, the late Dame Zaha Hadid (1950–2016) was the first woman to receive the RIBA Gold Medal in recognition for her work. Her talents exceeded architecture, taking her into the realms of furniture and jewelry design. She also turned her hand to publishing when she guest edited the 2008 issue of Wallpaper* (W*115)
Zaha Hadid was widely considered to be the world's leading female architect. We look back through the archives to, our October 2008 issue that she guest edited. Pictured left: the cover that Zaha Hadid designed in October 2008. Right: Zaha Hadid. Photography: David Hughes

 Genesy Lamp 2009

I had  the honor to meet her at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. and what stays in my mind how she explained why she could never draw a straight line."
Dolores Browne, BArch

Written by Dolores Browne — April 01, 2016

Build A Bear

Written by Dolores Browne — March 09, 2016

Xmas 2015

Xmas 2015

Written by Dolores Browne — March 09, 2016