Vincent A. Lopardo, 49, artist and interior architect


Vincent Anthony Lopardo, a commercial interior architect and artist, died of a brain tumor June 9 at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The former Severna Park resident was 49.

Mr. Lopardo, whose work can be found in hotels, restaurants and offices, was born in Pittsburgh and raised in Severna Park. He was a 1974 graduate of Severna Park High School and earned a bachelor's degree in 1978 in studio art and art history from the University of Maryland, College Park.

"When he was a child, he began drawing and painting, ... and it was pretty impressive work. It was quite obvious that he had considerable talent," said his brother, Robert C. Lopardo of Fort Lauderdale.

He continued his art studies in Perugia, Italy, and after returning to Baltimore, earned a master's degree in interior architecture from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1982.

Mr. Lopardo began his career working in Baltimore for the Walters Art Museum and later for several interior design firms, including Brown Craig Turner architects. He established Lopardo Design, a commercial interior architectural firm, in the Georgetown section of Washington in 1986.

"His work as an interior architect was so much more than just interior design. He'd assist corporations, hotels and other organizations find space, plan the space and design the space," his brother said. "He'd take a space from its raw state and work with it until it was time for the client to move in."

Mr. Lopardo's work included the design of all interior fixtures, walls, electronics, lighting, woodwork, finishes and sprinkler systems.

"My brother was known for his gorgeous custom millwork designs, woodwork and furniture. He'd design floor finishes, furniture, lighting, color and artwork specifically for each job," Robert Lopardo said.

Locally, Mr. Lopardo designed the interiors for Whiteford Taylor & Preston, a Baltimore law firm. Other major commissions in Washington included the Willard Hotel, Washington Hilton, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Hotel Washington, Army and Navy Club and The Wall Street Journal bureau.

"His pro bono work included Defenders of Wildlife, Save the Children, Sierra Club, Legal Defense Fund, Greenpeace, AIDS Action Council and Human Rights Campaign," Robert Lopardo said.

"He was used to working with organizations like nonprofits who have tight budgets. It was a challenge, and he was able to make beautiful spaces," said Mindy Saffer, who worked as a designer for Mr. Lopardo for a decade.

"Vincent enjoyed life, and it was reflected in his work. The work at times could be extremely reactive when it came to colors and materials," she said. "His clients loved him, and he always delivered a beautiful product," she said.

"His business was so successful, yet he lived simply and shared profits significantly with his employees every year," his brother said.

In 1998, Mr. Lopardo purchased a home in Fort Lauderdale and operated his business from there with frequent trips to Baltimore and Washington to consult with clients. He closed the business in 2002 and was diagnosed with brain cancer the next year.

During the final years of his life, he turned his attention to studio art and studied photography at the Fort Lauderdale Art Institute.

"He returned to oil painting and produced a sizable collection of landscape and still-life paintings during the last three years," his brother said. "He was very disciplined about his studio art and would religiously paint every Tuesday."

A Mass of Christian burial was offered yesterday.

Also surviving are his parents, Vincent J. and Mary S. Lopardo of Severna Park; and two sisters, Mary Jean Lopardo Bodley of Severna Park and Betty Lou Wingo of Fairfax, Va.

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