Travels of Jason Ticus

Jason Ticus and the Story of the Cloud Gate

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in Jason Ticus, Travel |

There aren’t many vistas that so wholly scream “CHICAGO!” like the Cloud Gate, the iconic centerpiece of AT&T plaza in Millennium Park. Designed by the British artist, Anish Kapoor, it is often called, “the bean” (for obvious reasons).

The shape and material were purposefully selected to remind visitors of liquid mercury, constructed from 168 stainless steel plates that have been seamlessly welded together. It is at once elegantly simple and decidedly futuristic. Its uniquely reflective properties make it a huge hit with tourists in terms of photo opportunities when visiting the city.

Worth the Wait

But how did this great piece come to be? Many people don’t know that Kapoor’s design was actually selected as a result of a design competition. It beat out another highly impressive proposal in 1999 to become the predominant showpiece sculpture of the park. Millennium Park was officially inaugurated in 2004, which was obviously four years later than intended.

The sculpture ended up costing an extravagant 23 million dollars, which illustrates just how huge of an undertaking it was. Kapoor did not want to unveil an unfinished piece to the public, hence the delay. However, he eventually gave in and it wasn’t until work was completely finished in 2006 and Kapoor’s vision finally completely realized that the public came to fully embrace the statue. Seamless and polished, the finished work is now a beloved touch to one of the country’s most beautiful cities.