1. Loading the Trucks
Not only were our teams decked out in their Official Giraffe About Town t-shirts and hoodies, they were also joined on the evening by Roary, our Official Purdie Worldwide mascot! Kudos to him though, as it must have been roasting with all that fur on!
As was originally planned, we were going to complete the project over 2 nights. It would’ve been possible to do all 42 giraffes in one night, but due to driver times, we wouldn’t have had anyone to drive our removal trucks the next day as they would’ve run out of driver time! Not to mention the fact the finish time would’ve been closer to 6am, not the midnight as we were hoping for!
Due to these time and safety constraints we opted to use 2 trucks for each route. One containing all the plinths, and the other having all the giraffes. Each giraffe had several blankets and boxes onboard for protection. As well as using removal straps to tie them in and prevent any movement during travel.
Having surveyed all 42 sites months before, we had already identified several pinch points and potential parking issues at some of the venues. After liaising with Edinburgh Council we marked each location as either fully accessible or restricted access. Those sites with restricted access would need to be completed using a smaller 3.5t van, with the other sites being accessible with any size of truck.
This was taken into careful consideration when deciding the truck routes and what Giraffes needed to placed with a smaller 3.5t van. We also had to ensure that any van carrying plinths had a tail lift, as this would be the only safe way to get the plinths out of the back of the van.
The Giraffes could be lifted out the back of a van without a tail-lift, but with the weight of the plinths, it was critical to have a working tail lift for them.
With all this information shared with the Zoo install team, we also created a rough timeline, allowing 20 minutes for each giraffe install, plus traveling time. These estimates would hopefully have one crew finished at 2330, and able to help the other crew who were scheduled to finish at 0030. It would also allow any sponsors who wished to see their Giraffe being installed, the opportunity to go along to their location at the designated time and watch it live!
2. Giraffe About Town - Installation Issues!
With the last the night of the installation upon us, several drivers were rested and not put on a removal that day in order to preserve driving time. As mentioned in our previous installation article, we had split the 42 giraffes into 4 separate routes, with 2 trucks on each route, and 2 routes per night.
Although we had practiced moving the plinths in the yard, we hadn’t anticipated how much of an issue the cobbled streets were! Moving the plinths across the cobbles took twice the length of time, and required twice the strength to move.
There was another small issue when trying to get the plinths down into Waverley Train Station. We couldn’t get a truck into the station, so the plinth and Giraffe needed to be carried down. The angle of the steep decent into the station meant we had to have 3 men on the pallet truck in order to stop the plinth escaping and go careering into the station!
Part of the planning phase had also involved contacting all of the land owners and letting them know the installation dates and rough times to ensure we’d have the proper access when the time came.
So although we had informed Waverley Train Station of our intentions, this hadn’t been relayed to the staff on the main gate. So when we pressed the buzzer to request access and tell the nice young lady we had a giraffe to install, she thought we were a bunch of students joking around! Fortunately the Police were on hand and kindly escorted us down and into the station without further incident!
3. Plinth Placement
Upon arriving at each location, the first step was to offload the relevant concrete plinth and put it in the exact location as specified on the documentation. Using the tail lift, the plinths were brought to ground level, before using the pallet truck to move the pallet and plinth into place.
Before lowering the plinth onto the ground, small squares of carpet tiles were placed under the 4 corners of the plinth. This would ensure no damage would occur to any of the cobbles or pavement when placing the plinths onto them. The hydraulic jacks were placed under the shorter sides, and the plinths are lifted up just enough to allow us to remove the pallet with the pallet truck. The hydraulic jacks were then lowered and removed to leave the plinth in place.
4. Giraffe Placement
With plinths in place, the matching Giraffe was carefully taken from the second removal truck. It was then placed onto the plinth, ensuring the direction of the giraffe matched the markings on the plinth.
Unfortunately some of the threaded bar hadn’t set completely vertical. As a result some of the bars needed a bit of persuasion with a hammer to allow the tabs on the giraffe to fit over them. As soon as the Giraffe About Town was in place, the Zoo team stepped in and secured each Giraffe to the plinth with heavy duty locking nuts.
Once we had finished putting each plinth in place, and the Giraffes were secured to them, the install team from the Zoo set about installing the signage.
Using high stick silicon, 4 panels were stuck onto the 4 sides of the plinth. With a further 2 panels stuck to the top of the plinth detailing the Giraffe and sponsor’s details as well as the special QR code.
Each one of the 42 Giraffes About Town not only had unique designs, they also had unique sponsors. Part of the sponsorship deal allowed sponsors to not only have their logo and company details put onto the plinth of the Giraffe, but also a unique QR code!
These codes could be scanned and entered into the Official Giraffe About Town app, or on a sponsor’s website. Allowing you to redeem some special and unique prizes for each Giraffe you visit!
6. Our Sponsored Giraffe About Town
Our sponsored Giraffe was called “Straight on til Morning” (poignant for a moving company!) and featured an incredibly detailed collage of Peter Pan. Painstakingly painted by the very talented Anne-Marie Byrne, who only recently began her creative streak, and now regularly paints sculptures for Wild in Art Trails.
If you’re looking for our sponsored Giraffe About Town, you can find it outside the National Museum of Scotland. Be sure to redeem the code on the plinth to be in with the chance of winning some Edinburgh Zoo tickets courtesy of us here at Purdie Worldwide. We’re giving away 75 tickets in total, so be sure to get your entry in soon! We’ll be announcing the winners at the end of the trail in August.
7. Future Plans
Giraffe about Town will be with us until the end of August. At this point we’ll collect all 42 giraffes and take them to Edinburgh Zoo, where all the Giraffes will be reunited together for a farewell party.
The plinths will also be collected, signage removed, and then transported down south to be used on another Wild in Art trail! Just another way we’re trying to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle where possible!
Come October, all of the giraffes will be transported to the National Museum of Scotland by ourselves. From there they will be sold by way of a live auction in order raise funds for the RZSS. We will be assisting with the auction night in much the same way as we did with the Oor Wullie statues, helping bring the Giraffes on and off stage, and arranging delivery for winning bidders.