Today’s Solutions: February 08, 2023

We all know how deeply politicized the US-Mexico border wall has been during the past four years, but for a brief moment of time, designers from architecture studio Rael San Fratello were able to foster a sense of unity at a section of the wall.

This happened through a project called the Teeter-Totter Wall, which saw children play on a trio of pink seesaws slotted into the country’s border wall in 2019. The idea was to create a sense of togetherness at the divisive border, and although it was only in place for around 40 minutes, the images from that moment are moving.

Recently, the Teeter-Totter Wall was crowned the winner of the Beazley Design of the Year awards, which are organized by London’s Design Museum every year. A five-person panel came to this conclusion in light of the recent political events in America, with the Design Museum‘s chief executive and director Tim Marlow describing it as an “inventive and poignant reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that seek to divide us.”

In order to get the pink seesaws in place, Rael San Fratello worked with Mexico’s Colectivo Chopeke, with a team on each side of the border helping slide the boards in between the tall, metal slats that divide El Paso in Texas from the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez.

In an interview, San Fratello revealed that the “guerilla project” never received official permission and was designed to be assembled as quickly and covertly as possible in case border patrol were to intervene. The aim was to show that “play can be an act of resistance.”

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