Art Installation Up for Just Minutes Wins Design Prize

Border seesaws 'reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that seek to divide us'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2021 11:43 AM CST
Border Wall Seesaws Claim Top Design Prize
A mother and her baby play on a seesaw installed between the steel fence that divides Mexico from the United States in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on July 28, 2019.   (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

The best design of 2020 was in place for less than 20 minutes, reports CNN, which shows just how impactful it was. "Teeter-Totter Wall," erected on the border fence separating El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has been named the best design of the year by London's Design Museum. The museum honored designs created throughout 2019 and into January 2020 in what's known as the Beazley Designs of the Year. "Teeter-Totter Wall"—a creation by California architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello and the art collective Colectivo Chopeke—took the top prize among 74 nominees, reports the Guardian. Three pink seesaws were erected on the 20-foot-tall border fence on July 28, 2019. To use them, children had to work with a counterpart on the opposite side of the fence. And they did, with the resulting footage going viral.

The goal of the design, which was 10 years in the making, was to convey a sense of unity and connection. "We don't need to build walls, we need to build bridges," San Fratello says, per the Guardian. "It remains an inventive and poignant reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that seek to divide us," Design Museum Director Tim Marlow adds, per Creative Review. All nominees were linked by a theme of "social justice," per the Guardian. Impossible Foods took home the product award for its Impossible Burger 2.0; Social Design Collaborative won the architecture award for its portable school design; and Telfar nabbed the fashion prize for its unisex vegan-leather handbag. The familiar 3D rendering of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, created by illustrators Alissa Eckert and Dan Higgins at the CDC's direction last January, claimed victory in graphics. (More design stories.)

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