Big Kahuna Fans the Festivities for The Year of The Pig

With February marking the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the festivities saw our Big Kahuna Imagineering team pigging out to celebrate the Year of the Pig in Sydney’s World Square, attracting thousands of snap happy people from everywhere around.

Commissioned by World Square’s management team alongside fashion designer and television presenter, Claudia Chan Shaw, they were looking for a perfect centrepiece attraction to place at the heart of the district, to ring in the new Lunar Year with colour and light.

Hence, we went about masterfully crafting this fabulous trio of piggies to see their dreams fulfilled.

But a lot goes into making such amazing pieces – so, for those who enjoy the behind-the-scenes experience, here is the story behind all the pink tails and red fans.

Creation of the Concept: from Digital to Physical

The process began with the phenomenal creative agency, Vandal, who designed the pigs and created animated Augmented Reality (AR) content with them. This brought the digital and real world together by allowing people to dance with the pigs on a large display screen.

These original 3D designs by Vandal Sydney, were given to our team to create physical manifestations of the three pigs – which triggered quite the creative endeavour on our end.

It should come at no surprise that traditional creative methods, such as polystyrene or fibreglass to build such pieces just weren’t going to work. So, we had to put on our Imagineering hats and really think this through.

The Building Phase

We decided that the best approach was to use a specially designed 3D printer by Steve Rosewell of Studio Kite (CADZILLA below), large enough to accommodate the enormous size of the unique porky pieces we needed to begin with.

Once the printer completed the primary shape formations we needed, our team got to work assembling and reinforcing the pieces with steel within the bodies to support their individually heavy 100+ kg bulk.

After this, there were weeks of meticulous filling, sanding, polishing, finishing and painting tasks to transform them into the beautiful works of art they eventually became.

The final touches – the skin surface, the fans and the curly tails

The intention behind these three pigs was to create a public spectacle, which meant that they had to be visually stunning in every sense of the word.

We took care to choose the right mix of paints to get the sheen just right without looking too glossy or over-the-top, as well as using a spray delivery method to account for their rotund shape, with each standing at 2.4-2.8 metres tall!

The fans were the next touch we needed to get right. They were made from clear PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycol) plastic, which we shaped and then sprayed with transparent red pigment to get the desired effect.

The challenge was working out how to effectively power up the lights we installed within the fans – a feature that drew a lot of public admiration, both when glowing red at night, and the casting of red shadows along the ground during the day.

It was all in the tails!

While people were admiring the heads, it was the tails doing all the work!

We ended up combining the sockets used to affix the tails to the body with a battery cassette holder, which fed power through internal wiring to the fans, illuminating them in a beautiful display of crimson.

But that wasn’t all!

  • We installed a mechanism which converted power from 12V to 9V, which prolonged the battery endurance to work for longer amounts of time.
  • The internal power meant that no cords were seen or needed
  • The tail provided the onsite team with a discrete switch to turn the fans on and off
  • Most importantly, they were made of elastomeric rubber from a custom-designed spiral mould, to ensure they were visually appealing, durable and safe (being at a child’s eye height)

This was all custom-built from scratch – we’re all very proud of those three curly tails.

So, funnily enough, most of the ingenious part of the whole design was in the rump!

Putting the pigs in place

Given that this trio were going to be on public display in touching range of families and young children, safety was a big priority.

As you can see, all three pig designs didn’t offer much in terms of a solid foundation. In fact, two of them were only standing on one foot!

To counter-balance their weight and size, we placed 300kg plates on their feet which connected with the steel reinforcing we installed inside to keep them sturdy and upright at all times.

This meant that the public throng could enjoy the spectacle to their heart’s content and satisfy their new year curiosities, without ever being at risk.

The crowd’s merriment mirrored our own when seeing our finalised work come together and on display.

What was the final outcome?

Our team received some phenomenal feedback from not only from the public, but our client partners as well.

Claudia Chan Shaw said, “They are so adorable! Will – they are stunning!” The fans were particularly glorious, casting an array of red light both during the day and night.

Sydney’s World Square team actually noted that the foot traffic of the precinct had increased by over 40% throughout the week, which was a fantastic outcome for them. We were told there had been over 10 MILLION hits on WEIBO (China’s biggest social media network)!

Will Colhoun, our Big Kahuna director, said: “you know you’ve done a good job when there are people lining up to take selfies in front of your pigs, while you’re still carrying them into the position where they’re going to be installed!”

We noticed during the week that there were actually people taking photos of people taking photos of the pigs! It was just an incredible site of joy – an outcome which we all had hoped for and effectively delivered.

Think of what Big Kahuna could do for next project!

We couldn’t be happier with the result, and that’s why our team do what we do, after all!

At Big Kahuna Imagineering (BKI), we love to be challenged and want to hear what big idea you have for your business or brand.

As you’ll see from our previous work, no project is too complicated, too strange or extraordinary. Our team of Imagineers use creativity and innovation to turn any idea into a reality.

Have an idea or project you would like to discuss? Get in touch!

Tel: 02 9810 6299

Call us or drop us an email and we will get back to you pronto!

At Big Kahuna, you imagine. We Imagineer.