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How Cloud Gate Became Chicago's Beloved Bean thumbnail

How Cloud Gate Became Chicago's Beloved Bean

Published Apr 17, 24
2 min read

Cloud Gate, affectionately known as 'The Bean', is undoubtedly one of Chicago's most iconic landmarks. Conceived by British artist Anish Kapoor, this massive, mirror-like sculpture reflects the city's stunning skyline and the countless visitors who pass underneath its arch daily. The inception of Cloud Gate dates back to 1999 when Kapoor's design was selected in a competition to create a public artwork for Millennium Park. It was unveiled in 2004 and has since become not just a symbol of Chicago but also a popular subject of photographs, making it a critical part of the city's modern cultural identity.


This fascinating piece is not just a treat for the eyes but also a marvel of engineering and design. The Bean's seamless surface is made up of 168 stainless steel plates, welded together and highly polished, creating a unique, mirror-like surface that reflects and distorts the cityscape and the sky above. The underneath of the Bean, known as the "omphalos" or belly, multiplies and distorts reflections in a way that feels almost magical, embodying Kapoor's intent to explore liquid mercury.

Find out more about this intriguing Chicago landmark.


Why Cloud Gate Captivates Countless Visitors

One may wonder why the Bean has become such a focal point for both tourists and locals alike. Located in the heart of Millennium Park, it is not only a piece of art but also a social space — a place where people gather, see themselves reflected, and consider the world around them from a fresh perspective. Its impressive ability to include everyone into the artwork makes it a site of unending individual stories and a mirror to the dynamic life of Chicago. For many, it's a place of connection, reflection, and inspiration.


Additionally, the Bean serves as a backdrop for numerous public events, festivals, and community gatherings throughout the year, further embodying the city's vibrant public life. Its allure extends beyond mere aesthetics; it is a symbol of how public art can transform the perception of a city. Cloud Gate's location within Millennium Park, surrounded by other artistic and cultural offerings, creates a synergy that enhances its draw, making it an essential stop for anyone visiting Chicago. Discover more fascinating aspects of the Chicago Bean here.


What materials are used in the construction of The Bean?

Cloud Gate, or 'The Bean', is constructed from 168 stainless steel plates, which are seamlessly welded together and polished to achieve its mirror-like finish. This construction not only contributes to its dazzling appearance but also makes it durable and sturdy, able to withstand Chicago's varied weather conditions.

Why is 'The Bean' considered a must-see in Chicago?

The Bean is not just an extraordinary piece of modern sculpture but a communal space that reflects the dynamic cityscape of Chicago and the people who visit it. Its reflective surface offers a unique perspective of the city, making it a beloved photo spot and a central gathering place in Millennium Park.
"Chicago Bean"

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