Seesaws along US-Mexico border named the Design Museum’s top pick of 2020

Teeter-Totter Wall has been announced as the overall winner of the Beazley Designs of the Year, while category winners include a Covid-19 visualisation and a portable school

The winner of the Design Museum’s Beazley Designs of the Year 2020 is Teeter-Totter Wall, a project orchestrated by architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, and art collective Colectivo Chopeke.

The temporary interactive installation saw three pink seesaws positioned on the highly politicised border between the US and Mexico, where children from El Paso, Texas and the Anapra community in Juárez, Mexico could play with one another. The aim was both to illustrate how actions on one side of a border impact on the other, and bring two communities together as neighbours.

The US-Mexico border has been the subject of intense political debate and tension, particularly under the Trump administration. Due to the “sensitive context at the border”, Teeter-Totter Wall took ten years to realise.

The project involved the installation of the pink seesaws by designers from both sides of the border, which only remained in place for under 20 minutes, although the project went viral online on social media and in the press.

Speaking of the winning project, the Design Museum’s director and chief executive Tim Marlow said “it encouraged new ways of human connection and struck a chord that continues to resonate far beyond El Paso in the USA and Juárez in Mexico. It remains an inventive and poignant reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that seek to divide us.”

Other category winners include Telfar’s coveted vegan, gender neutral bags; ModSkool’s portable school – designed in response to forced evictions of communities on the Yamuna River floodplains in India; and an early 3D rendering of the virus that changed the world: SARS-CoV-2, otherwise known as Covid-19.

Category winners:
Architecture: ModSkool by Social Design Collaborative
Digital: A Rapist In Your Way (‘Un violador en tu camino’) by Colectivo Lastesis
Fashion: Telfar bag by Telfar
Graphics: 3D rendering of SARS-CoV-2 by Alissa Eckert (MSMI) and Dan Higgins (MAMS)
Product: Impossible Burger 2.0 by Impossible Foods
Transport: Teeter-Totter Wall by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello with Colectivo Chopeke
People’s Choice: Brick arches by Hong Kong protestors