The Bean, officially known as Cloud Gate sits proudly in Millennium Park in Chicago and is for sure a must see. Your first question, like most people’s, is most likely “Why is there a giant metal bean in the middle of a city?” I’ll give it to you, that’s not an invalid question, I even wondered it in the beginning also. I wondered it until I realized how great The Bean was and you know what they say, “the most beautiful things require no explanation.” (they do say that, right?)
Cloud Gate was beautifully sculpted in 2006 by Sir Anish Kapoor. It is made up of 168 steel plates and is about 66 feet long and 33 feet tall. The Bean is equal in weight to a blue whale or thirteen elephants at around 110 tons. Just one of the multitude of impressive things about Cloud Gate is that even though it is made up of so many separate steel plates welded together, there is not a single welding seam or mark to show where they come together. The sculpture was made in California over the span of three years and was shipped in 7 pieces to the city of Chicago to be re-put together in its rightful place: Millennium Park.
As you are reading this, you are most likely wondering why I’m so passionate about a gigantic metal bean named Cloud Gate, but it will woo you as well; if you are not obsessed yet, you will be by the end of this article. There are not many things better than being able to see yourself in a 66 feet long mirror. Imagine how bomb those “mirror” selfies would be – the real pictures are even more breathtaking. But wait, it gets better! Not only can you see yourself in the reflection, you can also see the Chicago skyline. You get a whole new outlook on the buildings when you look at them contorted in the shape of a bean. After looking at it and taking it all in, you can even touch it. Yes, leave your fingerprint marks all over it. It gets cleaned every single day, so saying you do not want germs is an invalid excuse. You can even lie down on the floor and put your shoes all over the sculpture. After its daily power wash cleaning, it gets doused in 40 gallons of Tide twice a year to really rinse everything off.
Walk around, under, or next to Cloud Gate. Take pictures of it, have a picnic next to it, watch the sun set or rise in its reflection. Whatever you do, just make sure you see it. I promise you that a trip to Cloud Gate will not disappoint. Go and bask in The Bean while it is there, because you will miss it when it is gone. I may sound a bit too passionate about it, but just take my word for it. Live, love and be the Bean.
Just yesterday, I experienced the devastating experience of only being able to see The Bean once and not having the time to give it a proper goodbye later in the day. To say the least, I was heartbroken. But I know I’ll be back one day soon and I will gladly get to say hello to my old friend. Thank you, Sir Anish Kapoor for your work of genius. The world is forever grateful for Cloud Gate (at least I am).