New Zealand tourist board has a ball

A giant inflatable rugby ball designed by New Zealand consultancy Inside Out Productions will take centre stage in London’s Potters Fields Park today.

Tourism New Zealand has commissioned the design and construction of the giant ball, which will double as a cultural and information hub for the public, as part of a $7.3m (£2.6m) campaign to woo declining numbers of UK tourists to the country, ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The ball, a 25m long and 12m high structure, is a temporary venue open to the public free of charge. It will project a ten-minute long film on New Zealand’s history and heritage on to the inside of the structure.

The ball, which can hold up to 220 people, stays inflated using an air system with two pumps that expel up to 8000 litres of air each second. A revolving door allows the movement of people in and out of the ball while maintaining the interior air pressure.

The designer behind the ball, Mike Mizrahi, has previously worked for Louis Vuitton, creating a giant Vuitton suitcase to celebrate the brand’s 150th anniversary.

Tourism New Zealand’s giant rugby ball will be inflated today in Potters Fields Park between Tower Bridge and City Hall, before opening to the public on 25 November. It will stay open until 2 December.

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