Design of the Year 2020 Will Melt Your Heart

Photo: (Photo : Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for the Design Museum)

Children at the US-Mexico border came to play with the bright pink seesaws installed between the Anapra zone in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas in July 2019. The seesaws were set up without official permission between the slots of the border wall. The play session lasted 40 minutes and highlighted "the possibility of things" by the panel of judges.


Pink Seesaws Win Design of the Year 2020

The pink seesaws at the US-Mexico border in 2019 was crowned the Design of the Year award in 2020. The creators said they hoped their creation will encourage building bridges between the communities.

The creators of The Teeter Totter Wall are Ronald Rael, a professor of architecture at the University of California and Virginia San Fratello, an associate professor of design at San Jose State University. The idea came 10 years ago from the onset of the Secure Fence Act 2006 that begun large-scale building of the wall on the border. The Teeter Totter Wall was a collaboration with Colectivo Chopeko, a Juarez-based art collective.

"We do not need walls, but bridges," said designer San Fratello. Rael added, "We need to think about how to be connected without hurting anyone." The Femicide Memorials located in Ciudad Juarez inspired the pink seesaws. The memorials pay homage to the women murdered in the city. The seesaws were the designers' way to air their thoughts about the border issue in a "frank way, but using humor."

2020 Beazley Design of the Year Competition

The five-person jury chose the overall winner of the Beazeley Designs of the Year award, organized by the Design Museum in London. The decision was announced one day before the inauguration of Joe Biden as U.S. president.

There were more than 70 nominees for the 2020 Beazley Design of the Year award. Six other category winners won for their innovations in fashion, graphics, transport, product, architecture, and digital designs.

One such design featured a 3D render of COVID-19 by Alissa Eckert and Dan Higgins which won the graphics prize. The set design by Lee Ha Jun of the Oscar-winning South Korean film "Parasite" was also nominated for the award.

Another amazing design was a stab-proof vest showing the union flag. It was designed by Stormzy at Glastonbury 2019. The vegan Impossible Burger 2.0 won the product award, also being dubbed "beefier" than the 2016 design.

The gender-neutral vegan leather Teflar bag by Dazed was fondly called "the accessory of the decade" winning the fashion prize. Judges referred to the bag as defining "what luxury means." The portable school design by Social Design Collaborative made with sustainable Indian structure took home the architecture prize. Artist Camille Walala and the feminist group Colectivo Lastesis claimed the digital category prize with their protect against sexual violence in recent South American uprisings.

Hong Kong's brick arches made by protesters won the People's Choice Award. The arches were used in 2019 to slow down police vehicles during their protest. The Teeter Totter Wall also won the transportation category prize, My Modern Met reported. The Beazley Designs of the Year 2020 are available for an interactive virtual experience until March 28.

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The Mind Behind the Pink Seesaws

San Fratello revealed that the 40-minute session where the pink seesaws were in place at the US-Mexico border were meant to show the world of "play as an act of resistance," the wall being the literal fulcrum for US-Mexico relations, Dezeen reported.

The Teeter Totter wall connected children and adults across the borders in meaningful ways. Further, the movements of the seesaws recognized that actions on either side have direct consequences on the other side of the border.

The 40-minute seesaw play session was seen as an opportunity to bring people together with the hope to break down the barrier. "We live in a tie when people long for meaningful connections. The Teeter Totter is an example of coming together for balance and equality."

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