By Matt Whipp

Bristol-based Cameron Balloons has created the balloon used at the opening night of the Burj Khalifa (The Caliph’s Tower) in Dubai, the world’s tallest building at 828m.

Printed balloon: at the opening of the Burj Khalifa
Printed balloon: at the opening of the Burj Khalifa

The balloon was printed on the company’s newly installed 3.5m-wide Durst Rho 351, which has doubled the width of the company’s previous printing capabilities.

“We can now do photo-realistic images directly onto a giant balloon,” said Cameron Balloon chairman Don Cameron.

The balloon featured an image of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi, after whom the tower was named, which was designed as a curved image.

The image file was then split into separate sections that were printed and cut out as the balloon was constructed.

“Balloons are our thing,” said Cameron. However, he said that, as a Civil Aviation Authority certified company, Cameron Balloons has to go to a lot of trouble with fabrics.

“It’s life critical,” he added, explaining that while some fabrics are made water repellent with silicon, they also have to be careful the fabric isn’t ink repellent as well.

Other balloons created by the company include one designed to promote Disney’s Up film. The company built an inflatable house around the basket, while the balloon was built to look as if there were many toy balloons instead of just one.

The effect was created by building ‘half’ balloons into the sides of the main chamber and enhancing this with a background print of multiple balloon.

Cameron Balloons employs around 80 people and has a turnover of £6m. It claims to be the world’s largest balloon maker.