A playful installation of bright pink see-saws at the border wall between the USA and Mexico has been named by the Design Museum as the overall winner of the Beazley Designs of the Year 2020.
Designed by architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello with Colectivo Chopeke, the Teeter-Totter Wall allowed children from both countries to play together across the border – a border that is the most frequently crossed in the world and one of the most politicised.
The project, which took ten years to realise because of its sensitive context, allowed children from both El Paso, Texas and the Anapra community in Mexico to connect with their neighbours for the first time, in an attempt to create unity.
Rael and Fratello wanted to demonstrate that actions taking place on one side of the border have direct consequences on the other, viewing the boundary as a site of severance. The three bright pink 'teeter-totters' were slotted into gaps in the steel boundary by designers from both sides of the border and installed for just under twenty minutes on 28 July 2019. Although only temporary, the event went viral on social media and continues to be celebrated today.
"This was an idea that really moved the judges," Razia Iqbal, chair of the 2020 judges and broadcast journalist, told BBC News. "Not just something that felt symbolically important, it talked about the possibility of things; that all kinds of things are possible when people come together with great ideas and determination."
Other winners include an illustration of the Covid-19 virus, the vegan Impossible Burger 2.0 designed to replicate a beef burger, and a protest performance denouncing sexual violence towards women and LGBTQ communities in Latin America. Find out more at designmuseum.org.