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Meet Gigi the Giraffe - Anthem of the Seas

By JoThursday 09th April 2015

The brand new installation on Anthem of the Seas, by artist Jean Francois

Fans of Quantum of the Seas will remember Felicia the giant pink polar bear who stands proudly on the top deck. Anthem of the Seas will have another unique animal onboard – this time a brightly coloured giraffe ready to go for a swim! We caught up with the artist behind this piece, Jean Francois, to discover what inspired him and what challenges he faced.


Royal Caribbean: Why a Giraffe?

Jean Francois: I decided to make a giraffe because I think it’s a very peculiar animal, but it’s a very close animal to us. It’s a nice animal which is fragile, with a long neck and long legs. I like this almost human aspect of the giraffe, and I also thought it was a very good subject to wear a buoy, which ties in with being onboard a ship. So that’s why for me, it was quite obvious to propose a giraffe rather than a different animal. At the beginning, I proposed a couple of giraffes walking on the top deck; I liked the fact that they were looking very fragile and not in their natural atmosphere and would contrast with the boat. We then realized that that it would have more impact to show a lone giraffe in a bigger size.

RC: Tell us about your design

JF: It’s a very colourful and playful giraffe, and we really wanted to give the impression that the giraffe is going to jump into the sea to swim, or into a pool to play with the people onboard. I wanted her to look almost human with her expression, as if she was lost, very far from her natural place. I hope that people will feel emotion seeing it, and will laugh and find it very graceful to find it in this unexpected place.

RC: What material is she made from?

JF: The giraffe is made of carbon fiber regent, which is a very resistant material to salt, sun, water and wind. We’ve been working with an excellent specialist in the US named Kelly who did all the necessary tests to confirm that the materials will be resistant to the elements and securely attached to the deck.

RC: What were the challenges in creating this piece?

JF: Because the giraffe is 10-metres high, it can’t stand only on its feet, so it has to be connected to the ship through the belly, and I didn’t want this to be seen as it wouldn’t have looked as realistic. So we decided to give her some accessories like the buoy and the swimsuit, so we could use them to attach to the ship through a rope. Technically, it was very complicated and so for me the challenge at the end was to make it look natural and easy.

RC: How did the giraffe get onboard Anthem of the Seas?

JF: She was made in several sections: the two horns, one head, one neck, the four legs, four hoofs, and two parts for the belly, She was then assembled into a complete giraffe, which weighs approximately 4 tonnes, and was then moved onboard with a crane.
Gigi being lifted onto the top deck of Anthem of the Seas Gigi being lifted onto the top deck of Anthem of the Seas

RC: Does she have a name?

JF: It’s not my place to give her a name, the giraffe is going to belong to the ship and so the people onboard are going to decide her new name. I think they have named her Gigi.

RC: Are you sad to say goodbye to Gigi?

JF: Oh, much like a father you always have to let the kids leave their home life.I think it’s great that she’s going to see a lot of the world, because she’ll be onboard Anthem of the Seas, so it’s a great adventure.
The 30ft bear entitled 'From Afar', by Lawrence Argent, onboard Quantum of the Seas The 30ft bear entitled 'From Afar', by Lawrence Argent, onboard Quantum of the Seas

Once onboard, send us your photos with Gigi, either via our Facebook or Twitter.


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