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БЛОГ ART BERENDEEVO STUDIO

ZMEY GORYNYCH

For more than 20 years ART BERENDEEVO STUDIO’s craftsmen have repeatedly taken on unusual and ambitious projects. One of the brightest adornments of our portfolio to this day is a huge sculpture of a three-headed dragon, representing the famous character of Russian fairy tales ― Zmey Gorynych. You can admire the fabulous fire-breathing serpent in the Kudykina Gora safari park in the Lipetsk region.
Created in 2016, the art object has gone viral in local and international media, being duly appreciated by visitors of the park and by Instagram users from all over the world. A 15-meter dragon with a wingspan of more than 600 square meters delights not only with its size and detailing, but also with built-in pyrotechnic mechanisms, allowing Zmey Gorynych to spew real flames.
Behind the creation of such amazing projects there is always a hard, but very creative workflow, the story of which we’d love to share with you in this article.


FOUNDATION


The work on the fairy tale dragon made of concrete began in 2015 under the strict guidance of the chief sculptor ― Vladimir Kolesnikov ― and lasted about 150 days. 
First of all, on the basis of carefully calculated loads of the future sculpture, a set of works was carried out on the installation of a monolithic foundation. Since the estimated weight of the construction exceeded 1000 tons, it was decided to create a pit type foundation ― the same as for high-rise buildings.


REINFORCEMENT CAGE


The shape of Zmey Gorynych ― its torso and other parts of the body ― has a complex character: the necks and tail are elongated and have long bends, which gives an additional load on the construction and requires special attention with regard to further operation and safety. All design features of the reinforcement cage must be taken into account at the stage of welding the basic metal construction of the dragon. For the stability of the structure, a monolithic armature frame was welded, which was later cased and concreted on the principle of formwork. Thus, the base of the sculpture was obtained, which was later welded with the additional metal structures.


Upon completion of the monolithic base, the welding of the metal “dragon’s skeleton” began, with regard to the characteristics of individual parts of the sculpture. At this stage, all parts of the sculpture were welded separately: first of all, the serpent’s torso, later the heads, the paws and finally the wings. The reinforcement cage of the sculpture was welded into a unitized structure in stages, which made it possible to pay attention to each bend of the figure. In order to give the 15-meter frame the necessary stability, all span constructions were reinforced with additional rods of 10⌀ armature and 40/40 and 80/80 profiles. It is noteworthy that it took about 200 km of armature to create a reliable large-sized frame of Zmey Gorynych.


The resulting reinforcement cage is distinct not only in its ruggedness, but also in its unique appearance, so that the design features of the sculpture are already visible at this stage.
Upon completion of the reinforcement cage, a woven wire mesh is attached over the entire surface of the metal structure. In order to increase the durability of the metal, the frame is pre-treated with a primer to prevent corrosion.

FACING WORKS


At this stage, our sculptors have already started to apply concrete according to the standard technology of ART BERENDEEVO STUDIO. 
To apply 20 tons of concrete mix, we used to involve several dozen people. In order to ensure the safety of high-place work, the scaffolding was erected. It was not without the involvement of specialized access equipment, which allowed to increase safety at the facility and to shorten the timeline to completion of the project.


For those who are interested in how the sand-cement mortar is applied: at the first stage of facing, a dosed amount of the mix is thrown onto the frame. A wire mesh pre-attached to the reinforcement cage allows the concrete to hold onto the surface. The first layers are applied in a dense layer with a thickness of at least 3 centimeters. Next, the finishing (artistic) layer of the mortar is applied and manual cutting on concrete is already carried out on it. This stage is the most creative and painstaking. ART BERENDEEVO STUDIO pays great attention to every centimeter of the finished surface. The perception of the finished sculpture depends on how finely the nuances of the dragon’s scale, shape and texture of the claws and teeth are worked out. The plasticity of architectural concrete allows for creating surfaces with high detailing, so that an incredibly realistic effect is achieved.


PYROTECHNIQUE


Perhaps, the 15-meter-high Zmey Gorynych makes the most striking impression in the evenings of weekends and holidays. It is at this time that the already imposing dragon lets out a frightening roar and spews flames from all his three heads. 
In order for the three-headed serpent to breathe fire, we have provided a special room located inside the frame. This room contains all the necessary gas equipment, thanks to which Gorynych has become the real embodiment of a fire-breathing fairy-tale dragon.