Teeter-totter on US/Mexico border named 2020 Beazley Design of the Year
Following the unveiling of a shortlist last October, London's Design Museum has revealed the winner of the prestigious 2020 Beazley Design of the Year Award, the Teeter-Totter Wall. The judges lauded the project for briefly bringing together communities on either side of one of the world's busiest and most politicized borders.
The teeter-totter (or see-saw, to non-US readers) installation was created by architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, with Colectivo Chopeke, and consisted of three bright pink teeter totters which were slotted into gaps in the steel boundary wall that divides El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, by designers from both sides of the border.
The considerable bureaucratic headache of getting permission to set up an art installation on the heavily guarded border area meant that the project took a decade to realize. Once finally put in place on July 28, 2019, it only remained for 20 minutes, which was just enough time for a few children from either side of the border to play on it. The event was filmed and broadcast around the world.
"It is great to see a project that is seriously playful and playfully serious is the winner of our Beazley Designs of the Year Award for 2020," says Tim Marlow, Chief Executive and Director of the Design Museum. "The Teeter-Totter Wall was originally installed for only 20 minutes in 2019 across the US/Mexico border, but it encouraged new ways of human connection and struck a chord that continues to resonate far beyond El Paso in the USA and Juarez in Mexico. It remains an inventive and poignant reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that seek to divide us."
The project is certainly topical but isn't the first time that the Design Museum has used its annual award to highlight marginalized groups such as refugees and migrants, with Ikea's Better Shelter winning back in 2016. Additionally, as well as the overall award, winners were also declared in six different categories, plus a People's Choice award, each of which can be seen in the gallery.
Source: Design Museum