“The Bean” Chicago

No visit to Chicago would be complete without a visit to “The Bean” in Millenium Park. We went there to scope this amazing artifact and were transfixed by its simplicity and amazing mystical beauty. As one circumvents the structure, the reflection of the cityscape and sky constantly changes. One can also go under The Bean where a combination of concave and convex surfaces make things crazy cool! Our first look convinced us that we should return when it was not over crowded with tourists. We found that opportunity the day after New Years – we were treated to brisk Chicago Winds, a sprinkling of snow and few folks willing to face the New Year as early as we were. Now a bit about The Bean (As people have nicknamed it)!

Cloud Gate, a sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, is the centerpiece of  Millenium Park and was constructed between 2004 and 2006. The sculpture is nicknamed “The Bean” because of its  obvious shape and is made up of 168  stainless steel plates welded together, its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. It is 33 by 66 by 42 feet and weighs 110 tons.

Said to have been inspired by liquid mercury,  the sculpture’s surface reflects and distorts the city’s skyline. Visitors are able to walk around and under Cloud Gate’s 12-foot high arch. On the underside is the “omphalos” (Greek for “navel”), a concave chamber that warps and multiplies reflections. The sculpture builds upon many of Kapoor’s artistic theme, and is popular with tourists as a photo-taking opportunity for its unique reflective properties.

The sculpture was selected during a design competition. After Kapoor’s design was chosen, numerous technological concerns regarding the design’s construction and assembly arose, in addition to concerns regarding the sculpture’s upkeep and maintenance. Various experts were consulted, some of whom believed the design could not be implemented. Eventually, a feasible method was found, but the sculpture’s construction fell behind schedule. It was unveiled in an incomplete form during the Millennium Park grand opening celebration in 2004, before being concealed again while it was completed. Cloud Gate was formally dedicated on May 15, 2006, and has since gained considerable popularity, both domestically and internationally.

Thanks for visiting our humble Photoblog – if you have any questions or would like to purchase one of our images, just drop us an email at

Happy 2012!

Kathleen and Erik


12 responses

  1. An exceptional reflector indeed.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:19 pm

  2. J’aime… I like the photo, and now I don’t find the words… But I speak French and other languages better than English…

    Bonne année ! Happy new year

    January 5, 2012 at 11:13 am

    • Thanks for the kind words! You can always reply in French – I lived in Quebec for many years! Bonne Annee!

      January 5, 2012 at 11:49 am

  3. Interesting shot here. Don’t see to much like this from this place.

    January 5, 2012 at 11:26 am

  4. Wonderful shot – great angle – but it does look a little dark on my monitor (not sure if that’s me or your shot might need a litle lightening in post processing). If it’s my monitor, pl ignore my comment.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm

  5. I live in Champaign, IL and get to Chicago occasionally (meaning not often enough!). However, when I do, it seems I am always drawn to “The Bean”. Its reflective nature and a constantly changing sky means it is always changing its appearance as well. And the skyline of buildings along Michigan Avenue add to the atmosphere. It is usually a very crowded place and I notice in this image that either you were creative in positioning your shot or you chose a time when not too many people were around (early morning?). I am one of those that enjoys going to a popular location in the early hours when no one else is around – it’s like having this glorious place all to yourself. Like this one taken as the sun rose over Lake Michigan:
    A City in Reflection

    January 20, 2012 at 7:53 am

    • Thanks for your comments – the shot was taken New Years Day. We waited a long time for the few people to move out of the way! PS I love you shot from the East side!

      January 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

  6. This design is steller! You obviously know how to keep
    a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog
    (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really loved what you had
    to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

    February 28, 2014 at 12:48 am

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