Pixar's “Up”: 10 Amazing Things Raised By Balloons

Pixar's “Up”: 10 Amazing Things Suspended By Balloons

1. A Bridge Supsended By Balloons

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‘Pont de Signe’ is a bridge suspended by three big-ass helium balloons. It’s an art installment made by Artist Olivier Grossetête and originally shown at the 2012 Tatton Park Biennial. This thing seriously looks straight out of my magical, whimsical dreams. NOT my horiffiying, disturbing nightmares. Those are totally different. Less ballon floating bridges and more kittens in a fire tornado. *shudders* It’s one or the other. And usually it’s the other.

2. Going Up! House Lifted 10,000ft in the Air by 300 Cluster Balloons

National Geographic
Hearts pounding, two world-class balloonists stand inside a small house looking up; not at a ceiling, as we might expect, but instead a large hole through which they can see 300 brightly colored weather balloons tethered inside.

They may be two of the best balloonists in the world, but neither they nor anyone else has attempted this before: trying to take off – in a house! – with nothing but weather balloons clustered above them to control their lift and descent.

The balloonists weren’t the only ones whose hearts were pounding. A whole team was behind this, trying to make a scene from the Pixar movie UP! come to life, in the real world! National Geographic, in an experiment for a show launching in the fall, called How Hard Can It Be, are behind this world record-breaking attempt.

A team of scientists and engineers came together to plan out how they thought it would work. The house they built was not quite like a normal house though; it was lighter in weight, 16 x 16 feet at the base, and 18 feet tall. However, 300 8-foot weather balloons were attached to it to, which made the whole ‘aircraft’ 10 stories high!

Failure would have meant disaster for the balloonists. The world record they were trying to break for the largest cluster balloon flight ever attempted meant climbing to an altitude of 10,000 feet. If those balloons somehow broke or became untethered, there was no hope for the two inside unless they could exit it in time – and had remembered to pack their parachutes!

One thing the team discovered is that flying a structure much bigger in size would not have been possible. Executive producer Ben Bowie said: ‘We found that it is actually close to impossible to fly a real house.’ Producer Ian White added: ‘But what we can do is kind of fly a light-weight house and fly it safely with people on board.’

Cluster ballooning is the official name for this type of ballooning – though of course the craft the team put together is one peculiar variation! The small balloons are individually sealed and filled with helium gas, but instead of using vents to control altitude and speed, the balloonists deflate or simply undo individual balloons.

Possibly the most famous cluster balloonist is Larry Walters, who, in 1982, attached 45 cluster balloons to a lawn chair and rose close to 3 miles, after the strap attaching him to his jeep was cut. ‘Lawn chair Larry’ was initially afraid to shoot the individual balloons in order to descend because he thought it might tip him out, but eventually he had no choice.

There are many others who have since managed to fly using cluster balloons, though some who have made such attempts were never seen again. Roman Catholic priest Adelir Antonio de Carli from Brazil suspended himself under 1,000 balloons but was last seen heading over the ocean before his body was found two months later.

All of that said, cluster ballooning is becoming a more popular sport and is safe in the hands of experts. One of the most well known sites dedicated to it is John Ninomiya’s, where you can see some beautiful images and even learn how to fly a cluster balloon.


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4. Balloon Bench by h220430

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This floating bench by Japanese studio h220430 appears to be held up by bunches of balloons at either end.

The aluminium Balloon Bench is suspended from anchor points in the ceiling, concealed by clusters of polyethylene balloons.

This is bench was visually inspired by the feeling of floating that the main character felt in the French movie, “Le Ballon Rouge”(1953).

In reality the bench is suspended from the ceiling by 4 anchors concealed by the balloon shapes. This creates the illusion of the bench being lifted by balloons.

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5. Fly Away!: Woman Cosplaying As The House From 'Up'

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This is a woman cosplaying as the house from 'Up'. Although truthfully, I don't really think that was artist Myeongbeom Kim's intention when he designed the piece. That's just my interpretation and it is the RIGHT interpretation. Art is whatever you want it to be and I want it to be ALL CHUBBY NUDES, ALL THE TIME.

Thanks to PYY, who agrees there's no finer art than a chubby nude lounging on a chaise with like, some grapes or something. Hard nips a plus.


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This uplifting design was conjured up by Christopher Duffy, working with the concept of levitation and buoyancy.

The UP Balloon Table is a playful trompe l’oeil, giving the impression of a glass table top being suspended by gold and silver balloons.

For 2017, Duffy London introduces a round dining table version in 2 sizes.

7. Suspended Bride

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This photo by Morlotti Studio shows a bride arriving at her wedding with the help of a few balloons.

8. Up, up and away! Disabled artist lifted off the ground by 20,000 helium balloons

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A disabled artist has been lifted off the ground by the force of 20,000 helium balloons in St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch.

Noëmi Lakmaier, a Vienna-born artist, attempted the feat for a performance art piece called Cherophobia.

The 48-hour long performance is taking place in St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch, as part of Unlimited, a festival celebrating the work of disabled artists.

Audiences are welcome to go along and view the performance, which is also being broadcasted live to arts venues and streamed on the internet.

At St Leonard’s the audience will see a team of assistants inflating party balloons and attaching them to Lakmaier as she becomes suspended in the air.

“I can fairly easily imagine how it will start,” the artist told Unlimited prior to the performance. “I think once we go further than that towards a middle and an end, it becomes far less predictable.

“I think it’s the whole bunch of balloons pulling upwards and the contrast to my body pulling downwards that’s the metaphor.

“I suppose it’s also got a lot to do with who’s in control, because in a lot of my work, and including in Cherophobia, I put myself in a position where I’m completely out of control and at the hands of others – both my team and audience members.

“But essentially I’m in control of everything because I’m the one orchestrating it… I like that play of push and pull with control.”

Cherophobia takes its name from a psychiatric condition which is defined as “an exaggerated or irrational fear of gaiety or happiness”.

“I think it’s going to be quite an all-encompassing experience for the viewers”, said Lakmaier in the same interview.

“The more the room fills up with balloons, the less space there is for anything else – the more it will be a physical challenge to negotiate space.”

Cherophobia will be running at St Leonard’s until 12 noon tomorrow (9 September).

9. A Whimsical ‘Floating Chair’ That Looks Like It Is Suspended By Balloons

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As a follow up to the “Balloon Bench”, Japanese design Satoshi Itasaka of h220430 has created the “Balloon Chair” that appears to be suspended in mid-air, beneath ten helium balloons.

In fact, this whimsical piece of furniture is a lot sturdier than it seems—the balloons are made of fibre-reinforced plastic and the chair fixes to a wall.

Creating the illusion of flight, this chair is inspired by 1950s French film Le Ballon Rouge and seeks to recreate the feeling of floating above the city as experienced by the movie’s protagonist.

The Balloon Chair was on exhibition at the Milan Design Week from 8-12 April 2014. Would you like to sit in this “floating” chair?

10. Jonathan Trappe flies a house on helium balloons, like the Pixar/Disney film 'Up'

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Adventurer Jonathan Trappe has launched a house into the sky with a cluster of balloons, just like in the movie Up. He lifted off in the cartoon-themed house at the Leon International Balloon festival in Mexico. Trappe, who became the first person to cross the English Channel using cluster balloons, used the event as a warm-up for his planned transatlantic flight scheduled for next summer.

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