Cloud Gate is British artist Anish Kapoor‘s first public outdoor work installed in the United States. The 110 ton elliptical sculpture is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect Chicago’s famous skyline and the clouds above. A 12-foot-high arch provides a “gate” to the concave chamber beneath the sculpture, inviting visitors to touch its mirror-like surface and see their image reflected back from a variety of perspectives.
Inspired by liquid mercury, the sculpture is among the largest of its kind in the world, measuring 66-feet long by 33-feet high.
Construction of Cloud Gate
Photo: Cloud Gate, SBC Plaza, March 10th, 2004. Looking southeast toward the partially built sculpture. SBC Plaza was under construction. Source: Chicago Public Library Special Collections and Preservation Division.
Photo: Constructing the Cloud Gate, known as “The Bean”. Source: Architecture Chicago Plus.
Photo: Cloud Gate, fabrication, April 22nd, 2003. Close-up of a metal plate during the fabrication of Anish Kappor’s sculpture. (Later named Cloud Gate). Source: Chicago Public Library Special Collections and Preservation Division.
Photo: Cloud Gate, attaching steel plates, April 29th, 2004. Workers adjust a steel plate as it is attached to the sculpture. Source: Chicago Public Library Special Collection and Preservation Division.
Photo: Cloud Gate, attaching steel plates, March 21st, 2004. As a part of the process of unloading it from a truck, workers attach a hook to a wrapped steel plate. The trellis of Pritzker Pavilion is visible in the background. Source: Chicago Public Library Special Collection and Preservation Division.
Photo: Once the first piece of structure is place, another structure for the tent in which construction will be completed rises. Source: Repeat by Lynn Becker
Photo: Polishing and making last adjustments along the sculpture’s surface. Source: Repeat by Lynn Becker