us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’

The national border between Mexico and the United States is often a heated topic of discussion. At times, it seems like an insurmountable barrier.

This art project, though, turned it into a symbol of playfulness and harmony. Now it won the ‘Design of the Year’ for 2020, and it truly deserves it.

A Pink Seesaw Between Mexico And The US

us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’
us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’

The nearly 2000-mile-long border is often a source of controversy.

That is why Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello created a lighthearted design project there. With it, they wished to change things around, at least for a while.

us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’
us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’

They installed a pink seesaw in the fence between Sunland Park, New Mexico, US, and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. Children from both sides of the border rushed there to play together.

us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’
us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’

The London Design Museum picked this project to win as 2020 ‘Design of the Year’. The CEO and Director defined this art installation as an

“inventive and poignant reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that seek to divide us.”

Ten Years In The Making

us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’
us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’

The project, called Teeter-Totter Wall, was first a drawing from 2009. It finally came to life ten years later, in July 2019, as a 20-minute art installation.

In other words, UC Berkeley professor Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, associate professor of design at San Jose State University, dreamt of it for ten years.

us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’
us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’

The Mexican Collective Chopeke from Juarez helped them with the final stages of preparation. On the exhibition day, tens of people from both sides joined to play together on the pink seesaw.

us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’
us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’

Art With A Meaningful Impact

us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’
us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’

The idea behind the project is one of unity, solidarity, and friendship across borders. As it became a reality, the atmosphere was filled with love and joy on both sides of the fence.

us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’
us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’

In an Instagram post, Rael expressed gratitude for the accomplishment. He also explained:

“The wall became a literal fulcrum for US-Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side.”

Winning ‘Design Of The Year

us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’
us-mexico border: pink seesaw art installation wins 2020 ‘design of the year’

The other nominees for the prestigious title included the set design for the Oscar-winning South Korean film Parasite and the stab-proof vest created by artist Bansky.

With such impressive competition, Rael and San Fratello did not expect to win. Of course, they did not forget to thank the Mexican art collective which worked with them.

In acknowledging the win, Rael stated:

“importantly, it comes at a time when we are hopeful for change and that we start building more bridges instead of walls.”

In a world where we can build seesaws instead of walls, there is still some hope for humanity.