Coming to you from the Eiffel Tower of Chicago — the Big Bean. I’m always a big fan of doing things that are iconic, bigger than any one of us. Artist Anish Kapoor has done just that with this polished stainless steel sculpture in Millennium Park.
The official name is Cloud Gate because 80% of the sculpture reflects the sky and clouds in this typically overcast city. Surrounded by skyscrapers, it also bends the reflection into the shape of a gate.
Why is it so iconic?
For one thing, it engages curiosity of both locals and tourists. In the video, you can see the crowd taking selfies, pointing, wondering, discussing. The Bean attracts people like a magnet.
And for Chicagoans, it’s the subject of many jokes and memes. Some want to Windex the Bean, while others broadcast to Paint the Bean Black So They Can’t Windex It. Another meme suggested that the community Add Googly Eyes on the Bean and Only Refer to It As Steve.
Eat Beans at The Bean to Establish Our Dominance, they’ve said, or Maybe we’ll roll the Bean into the lake to see if it floats.
Take it one step too far … Fill the Bean With Helium and Release It Back Into the Universe.
I think another reason the Chicago Bean captures attention is that it encourages public participation. Amazing, really, you can step inside and experience spectacular views. It brings people together from all walks of life.
Be the Big Bean. Stand out among the landscape of architects and designers. Think about it: How can you be something special?