Cloud Gate is a public sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor. It is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park within the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois, and is located above Park Grill and adjacent to the Chase Promenade. The sculpture was constructed between 2004 to 2006, with a temporary unveiling in the summer of 2004. Nicknamed "The Bean" because of its legume-like shape, its exterior consists of 168 highly polished stainless steel plates. It is 33 feet by 66 feet by 42 feet, and weighs 110 short tons (99.8 t/98.2 long tons). The sculpture and the plaza are sometimes jointly referred to as Cloud Gate on the AT&T Plaza.
Cloud Gate is one of the most popular sculptures in the United States. Inspired by liquid mercury, the sculpture's exterior reflects and transforms the city's skyline and visitors are encouraged to walk around and under Cloud Gate's arch, which is 12 feet (3.7 m) high. On the underside of the sculpture is the omphalos, a concave chamber that warps and multiplies reflections. The sculpture builds upon many of Kapoor's artistic themes, although many tourists simply view the sculpture and its unique reflective properties as a photo-taking opportunity.
The sculpture was the result of a design competition. Once chosen, its implementation caused numerous technological concerns regarding its construction and assembly, as well as ongoing concerns regarding its 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 fell behind schedule and was unveiled in an incomplete form during the Millennium Park grand opening celebration before being concealed for completion.
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