Contest / Published on January 25, 2021
EPHEMERAL GONE VIRAL
The Teeter-Totter Wall Named Overall Winner of the Beazley Designs of the Year!
January 19, 2021 on the eve of the 46th President of the United States’ inauguration, the “Teeter-Totter Wall”, an ephemeral interactive installation designed by Californian architects Ronald Rael and Virgina San Fratello in collaboration with the artistic collective Collective Chopée de Juárez, has been selected as the Overall Winner of the 2020 Beazley Designs of the Year, the prestigious annual competition held by the London Design Museum.
The temporary installation, erected a mere 20 minutes back in July 2019, consisted of three vibrant pink seesaws introduced through the slats in the steel wall separating the United States and Mexico at the border. On one side, El Paso’s Texan children, on the other, those of the Anapra community in Juárez, Mexico were called to collaborate in order to play and enjoy the seesaw, despite the 20-foot-high wall, erected on the most crossed border in the world and perpetually source of political conflict discourse.
The purpose of the “Teeter-Totter Wall” was to illustrate the intrinsic connection between Mexico and the United States.
“What’s done on one side of the border has effects on the other side as well,” architect Rael told CNN in 2019, “and that’s exactly how what a seesaw is all about!”
A daring project that appeals to a hot political context, it took 10 years to complete and was only installed, seen and enjoyed for 20 minutes of time, on a certain day in July 2019. 20 minutes that will have been more than enough to travel the world, go viral and convey the weight of the message evoked while creating a moment filled with joy, excitement and collaboration on the border.
“The Teeter-Totter Wall encouraged new ways of human connection”, commented Tim Marlow, the chief executive and director of the Design Museum, in a press statement. “It remains an inventive and poignant reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that seek to divide us.”Inspiring. Encouraging. Elevating. The project won honors in the Transport category as well as the Overall Winner, all categories combined.
All of the Beazley Designs of the Year winners share, according to Marlow, poignant messages of change. They thus demonstrate the capacity of design to explore new ideas and to address certain hot topics that the world is currently facing.
In this spirit, let us highlight the award given to Alyssa Eckert and Dan Higgins of the Center for Disease Control for the rendering of the image representing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This rendering was one of the most viewed images of 2020 and earned top honors in the graphics category.
“The rendering exacerbates and emphasizes the characteristics of the virus and the threat we were facing, to communicate that to the public, but also be part of the solution in how we might respond to it with vaccines and the like”, said member of the jury Matt Jones, Principal Designer at Google AI.
The Winners Are:
The “Beazley Designs of the Year” exhibition at the London Design Museum in London is usually a well sought-out event. This year, the global pandemic and lockdown context has forced the exhibit to go virtual! The virtual experience runs online until March 28, 2021 and can be enjoyed from the comfort of your living room.
Discover the virtual exhibition here