Partners Kathy Wesselman and Anthony Pellecchia formed wpa, inc., an interdisciplinary design firm, from the merging in 1994 of Wesselman's graphic design firm and Pellecchia's architectural firm. The staff is comprised of both architects and graphic designers. The merging of the two disciplines provides both the opportunity to develop the graphic design product on a detailed architectural and site-specific level and the freedom to test ideas about design and our surroundings. The collaboration results in work which spans environmental graphic design to architectural design and architectural research.
In environmental graphic design, the firm's work goes beyond the functional "wayfinding" aspects of a project to explore and incorporate the phenomenological qualities of the site and facility. The firm's architectural projects establish a design process that equally considers methods of fabrication and sequence of construction. In architectural research, the firm's work takes the form of invented projects that address how we inhabit a complex and rapidly changing world. These invented projects allow a fuller exploration of ideas that begin to find articulation in the environmental graphic design and architecture projects. wpa believes that design has the power to inform, educate, evoke, and elicit, leading to new understandings of the individual, community, and environment.
The work of wpa has been published in design magazines such as Communication Arts, Identity, Architectural Record and Architecture and featured in over ten books on architecture and graphic design. The firm has received numerous awards, including Gold and Merit Awards from the Society of Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD), AIA Honor Awards, The Communication Arts Design Competition, The American Association of Museums, and the Typographers International Award. Examples of the firm's architecture and architectural research are in the permanent collections of The Denver Art Museum and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.