While in Dubai for the last 4 days - I had the opportunity to watch the unveiling of the world's tallest building while sitting less than 10 feet from the King of Dubai and his 300 person entourage. The 3 hour event was nothing short of spectacular as the sheer magnitude of the event approached the greatness of the opening ceremonies at the China Olympics. Buildings are often celebrated during their inauguration, but I know of very few that have approached this level of exaltation. From the 300 ft video screen digital screen presentation to the paratroopers sky diving off the top of the building and landing precisely at the feet of the King nothing could prepare one for what was to come next. Having been assembled for an hour prior and watching the looming 160 tower loom in relative darkness the entire crowd was enraptured by the abrupt 100 ft high water fountains that moved in conjunction with inspirational music sound tracks. This was followed by an incredible light show that would race up and down the 2600 ft height of the building - and ultimately blend into a stupendous array of fireworks of which the world has never seen. Initially the fireworks were impressive with the normal explosive rain of large mushroom bursts - but then the fireworks proceeded to project horizontally from building at a perpendicular angle as if the very building itself were bursting into million fragments. There was no one in the audience who could stop from cheering as the fire works raced repeatedly up and down the full length of the structure at least 6 times culminating with a spiral trajectory of wild flaming explosions. At the end the audience dispersed in utter awe.
At over 800 metres (2625 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Dubai holds the following records:
• Tallest building in the world
• Tallest free-standing structure in the world
• Highest number of stories in the world
• Highest occupied floor in the world
• Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
• Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
• Tallest service elevator in the world
To see a video:
With the aim of giving world audiences and the media an unforgettable vision of Dubai, without being too extravagant Pierre created an event focused on the Burj Khalifa which is pure, elegant and impressive. The date also marks the celebration of the fourth anniversary of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum as Ruler of Dubai.
"Since the announcement of this record breaking tower, I've kept dreaming of the day that I would design the inauguration. Today the dream is real!!" Pierre beamed and went on to reveal what went into making this once-in-a-lifetime opening ceremony an unforgettable success. The 11 minute scenario consisted of a pre-show and three acts; the Hymenocalis flower, heart beat and the firework display finale.
"We didn't want to make the opening ceremony about any celebrities, as the celebrity is the Burj Khalifai tower. We want to magnify the 828meters of the tower for all that is it and not just to show off but to create emotions and express feelings around the tower and the show as it is truly one-of-a-kind!," Pierre clarified.
The pre-show began with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum signaling the launch to illuminate the tower with the biggest and most impressive 72,000 watt light projector ever used in the world. This was followed by the first act which drew prominence to the very rare Hymenocalis desert flower which was the architect's inspiration for the design of the tower. After projecting the birth of the flower on a large 1000sqm screen, lively water fountains accelerated the rhythm of the show before the act ended with a simultaneous water and firework display.
The construction phase of the tower is highlighted with the effect of a beating heart replicated by a strong lighting presentation from behind the tower while another set of lighting effects similar to a Tetris game illustrates the building of the tower. The act ends with 320 space canon projectors creating a shadow effect emphasizing on the outline of the tower.
However arranging the 320 canon projectors with light beams reach 10km into the sky proved to be tough challenge for Pierre and his team. The last recorded time this effect was used was the commemoration of September 11 with no more than 30 canons to symbolize the disappeared World Trade Centre Towers.
The biggest challenge the team faced was to line the tower with kilometers of wire that were linked to computers to control the lighting and fireworks, within a period of a mere month; checking any light was a challenge in itself due to the height of the tower!
The finale act saw a magnificent show of 10,000 firework effects on and from the tower, estimated to be the highest ever in the world reaching 850m in height and lasting three minutes. The display was carefully designed by famous Christophe Berthonneau of the Groupe F Company who also produced the 1998 World Cup at Stade de France and the New Year's Eve 2000 by the Eiffel Tower and the Olympic Games in Athens.
Meanwhile the music for the event Music Show Burj Khalifa, was created by the French composer and conductor, Hélène BLAZY. Music was recorded by philharmonic Opéra de Paris and Produced exclusively by renowned French movie soundtrack producer Mike Lanaro. The opening ceremony which was attended by members of the Royal family, VVIPs and other invitees is no doubt Prisme International's strongest most creative project yet!