Design of The Year 2020

The set of pink swings built on the border between Mexico and the USA, won the Design of the Year award.

Teeter Totter Wall, the installation by Ronald Rael, professor of architecture at the University of California; and Virginia San Fratello, associate professor of design at San José State University, consisting of three pink swings inserted into the cracks in the wall on the border between the United States and Mexico, won the Beazley Design of the Year 2020, a prestigious international award assigned by the Design Museum from London.

The work, presented in 2019 and created in collaboration with the Colectivo Chopeke, of Juarez, allowed the children of El Paso, Texas, and Anapra, Mexico, to play together, facing each other on the swings, despite the wall that marks the most crossed border in the world, among the most symbolic places of the “geographical” repercussions of political fractures.“What you do on the one hand has an effect on the other. This is what a swing does, “Rael explained Teeter Totter Wall, in a 2019 interview with CNN.

«Teeter Totter Wall encouraged new ways of relating. It left an important and creative reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that attempt to divide them, ”said Tim Marlow, director of the Design Museum in London. “I think it has become even clearer, in light of recent events in our country, that we need to build not walls but bridges,” San Fratello told the Guardian, referring to the events on Capitol Hill.

The border wall has become a legacy for Donald Trump, although designers point out that both George W Bush and Barack Obama have built vast expanses of barriers and deported thousands of people.

According to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), more than 720 kilometres of wall were raised during Trump’s mandate. However, much of the construction replaced the barriers that were already in place. CBP said there were only 128 km of barrier in areas that previously had none.

The winning design eliminated the competition of over 70 works, which included a 3D rendering of the virus that caused Covid-19; the Parasite setting by Lee Ha Jun, the Oscar-winning South Korean film and the stab-proof waistcoat printed with the UK flag worn by Stormzy at Glastonbury 2019.

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