Giant giraffe – 9m

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Giant giraffe “Gigi” as a CFRP figure for a cruise ship

With the “Anthem of the Seas”, ACCENTFORM has now produced a giant CFRP figure for the second cruise ship of the Royal Carribbean International shipping company. As with the “Quantum of the Seas”, a 9m high art sculpture is on board this ocean giant: the handmade giraffe “GiGi” takes its place in the stern area on the starboard side at a height of almost 50m.

The figure “GiGi”, made of carbon hand laminate by French artist Jean-François Fourtou, is a masterpiece of ACCENTFORM’s engineering skills. The figure, supported by a steel skeleton, was not assembled from individual molded parts, but laminated in one piece starting at the head and married to the tubular steel construction of our metal construction partner STAMA.

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Just like the “Afar” bear on the sister ship, the humorously designed giraffe, which is positioned next to a huge climbing wall, is intended to show people from afar that cruises today offer a wide range of options for every taste. RCI’s Quantum class, which will consist of three ships in the future, is a prime example of elaborate entertainment attractions on board.

The particular challenge in creating this figure was the extremely short production time: only eight weeks were available for production.

ACCENTFORM was the first to create a high-precision negative mold from polystyrene using its in-house CNC milling technology. Parallel to this work, the construction of the inner skeleton steel structure took place, which was made exclusively of seawater-resistant stainless steel. The figure as such was then laminated from high-strength carbon fiber.

Finally, the 2,000 kg steel frame made of pipes with a diameter of 140 mm and a wall thickness of 12 mm was installed in the giraffe. This steel construction is so important to prevent the figure from swinging up with the natural frequency of the ship. Internal ribs transfer the wind forces from the carbon hull to the steel frame.

Pictures from the production of the giant CFRP figure

For the painting process, ACCENTFORM erected a 10 m high enclosure on the company premises in which the sanding and filling work could be carried out on the giraffe, which was already standing upright. PU paints from Rupf & Co, which had already proved their worth on the bear, were used as the paint system. In addition, this time an airbrush artist was hired who has years of experience in coloring large-scale animal sculptures and masterfully implemented the detailed fur drawing and the patient facial expression of the gentle animal.

On board, the giant figure blends harmoniously into the image of the skyscraper-high cruise ship, but on land, things are a little more awkward at first. At just under 10 meters, the figure was first moved so that it could be transported on a low-loader. ACCENTFORM’s vast experience, meticulous planning and extremely precise scheduling enabled it to defy even the German spring storms: Just in time for the ship’s christening in Southhampton, “GiGi” was welcomed on board as the first permanent guest of the new season.

In contrast to GRP, the high-performance material carbon offers even more strength at an even lower weight: the material known from aviation and motorsport is already being used in series production vehicles, e.g. for electric cars. This means that the outer skin of the GiGi giraffe is ideally equipped for all adversities and stresses caused by wind and weather.

The Anthem of the Seas impresses its guests with numerous innovations on board.

Project details for the giant giraffe as a CFRP figure for a cruise ship

Design, idea, engineering

Jean-François Fourtou

Martin/Martin, Inc.


Karl Kuhlmann GmbH

Project number