The three neon pink rockers that meandered through the border between the US and Mexico have just been named Beazley Design of the Year 2020. Designed by Oakland artists Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello ((previously), the playful, subversive project was installed between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez in July 2019, physically connecting the two communities despite the 20-foot barrier. The prestigious annual award comes from London Design Museum.
Rael and San Fratello worked on the “Teeter-Totter Wall” for a decade before installing it on the border at a particularly divisive time under the Trump administration. Although it was in use for less than an hour, the interactive work was intended to promote and show unity between children and adults from both countries as they physically lifted each other. In response to the separation of families on the border, Rael wrote about the project::
The seesaws represented the kind of balance that two people, two nations, need to achieve equality, with the understanding that actions on one side have direct consequences on the other. The seesaw is the physical manifestation of the Golden Rule – treat others as you would like others to treat you – a maxim shared by all cultures and religions. To experience joy on a swing, you need to allow the other person to experience joy as well.
Among the other winners are a 3D rendering of SARS-CoV-2 by Alissa Eckert and Dan Higgins for the CDC and Social Design Collaborative“ModSkool”, a movable building that can be easily assembled and dismantled in response to evictions of farming communities in India. Check out all of the top designs in the museum virtual exhibition that runs through March 28th and is going to Rael San Fratello’s website and Instagram to see more of the duo’s socially minded projects.
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