Pink Seesaw For Kids On US-Mexico Border Wins 2020 ‘Design Of The Year’ Award

by : Hannah Smith on : 19 Jan 2021 13:58
Pink Seesaw For Kids On US-Mexico Border Wins 2020 'Design Of The Year' Awardrrael/Instagram

A set of pink seesaws installed at the US-Mexico border has been named ‘Design of the Year’ by the London Design Museum.

The museum awarded the 2020 Beazley Design of the Year award to California-based architects Ronald Rael and Virigina San Fratello for their ‘Teeter-Totter Wall’, which saw three bright pink seesaws fitted into the gaps in the giant 20ft steel fence separating Sunland Park, New Mexico, from neighbouring Juarez in Mexico, allowing children from both sites of the border to play together.


Tim Marlow, CEO and Director of the London Design Museum, called the installation an ‘inventive and poignant reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that seek to divide us’, adding that the Wall ‘encouraged new ways of human connection’.

Athough the Teeter-Totter Wall was only in place for a grand total of 20 minutes in July 2019, the installation was the culmination of a decade’s work by Rael, an architecture professor at UC Berkeley, and San Fratello, who is associate professor of design at San Jose State University.

The idea emerged from a series of conceptual drawings produced by the pair in 2009, becoming a reality 10 years later when the seesaws were transported from California to Sunland Park in collaboration with Juarez-based art collection Colectivo Chopeke.


In an Instagram post about the event, Rael described it as ‘filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness at the borderwall’, describing how ‘the wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S -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’.

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Following the announcement of the award, Rael said:


We are totally surprised by this unexpected honour…

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

As well as the Beazley Design of the Year award, the Design Museum also announced winners in five other categories, including a moveable school, a Chilean protest performance against gender violence, the Impossible Burger 2.0, and a 3-D modelled image of the Covid-19.

The Design Museum’s assistant curator Maria McLintock said that this year’s awards felt ‘more pertinent than ever’, saying that ‘from designs that create a kinder and healthier world, to those calling out and critiquing systems of oppression, we hope it serves as a time capsule of a shifting world’.

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Topics: News, border, Mexico, New Mexico, Now


  1. CNN

    A seesaw for kids on the US-Mexico border wins Beazley Design of the Year