A unique see-saw installed across the border between the United States and Mexico has won the award ‘Beazley Design of the Year 2020’. This prestigious design award is run by London’s design museum. The specialty of this see-saw is that it connects two communities together, as it allows children from both countries to play with one another.
The designers of this interactive installation named ‘Teeter-Totter Wall’ are Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello. It was officially installed in July 2019. The design consists of three bright pink see-saws stuck between the gaps of the steel border. The height of this border is 6 meters. In addition to being the most-crossed border in the world, this is also a frequent location of the political fracture.
This installation is accessible to children from El Paso in Texas from the US side, and to the Anapra community in Juarez from Mexico. As this see-saw design could promote unity, it has been awarded the 2020 Beazley Design of the Year.
Rael is a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and Fratello is an associate professor of design at San José State University. The duo initially got the idea after the Secure Fence Act 2006, a decade ago. This act marked the start of large-scale building on the US-Mexico border. The see-saws were installed in collaboration with Colectivo Chopeke, which is an artistic collective based in Juarez.
The Project Took A Decade To Come To Fruition
The border is obviously divisive in nature, physically as well as figuratively. Due to this, the project took a decade to come to life and was only installed for about 20 minutes. However, this was enough for it to go viral and spread the message of peace.
In an interview with CNN, Rael stated: “What you do on one side has an impact on the other, and that’s what a seesaw is”. The designers hoped that this initiative would encourage dialogue instead of division. Fratello added that the recent events in the US are a good example that instead of walls, bridges should be built. These words of Fratello emphasized the importance of unity and togetherness among nations.
According to Tim Marlow, the CEO, and director of the Design Museum, the Teeter-Totter Wall has encouraged new forms of human connection. He further explained that this symbolic design stands as an ‘inventive and poignant reminder’ of how people can overcome divisive forces by being united.
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Beazley prizes are awarded to designs falling into six categories; namely architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product, and transportation. The winning designs will be on display at the London’s Design Museum until March 2021.