Chicago’s Millenium Park - Cloud Gate and The Crown Fountain

Chicago’s Millenium Park features two incredible pieces of public art that are worth seeing in person - Cloud Gate and The Crown Fountain. (
Photos by Carly Haffner and text by Don Porcella

Cloud Gate

Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Chicago’s Millenium Park. The 110-ton elliptical sculpture is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates and was installed in July 2004.

Looking up through the middle of Cloud Gate. A visual Vortex is created where the viewer seems farther away than possible. The small group of people in the center circle is the reflection of the viewer and the people around the viewer, looking up.

A fun house mirror effect is created under and around the whole sculpture. Viewer’s delight in seeing themselves reflected and distorted.

Because of it’s highly polished and reflective surface, the viewer becomes the art. Cloud Gate’s adornment is the surrounding environment. Whatever surrounds Cloud Gate defines the sculpture at that moment. In that way it is emblematic of its environment and at the same time ever changing.

The Crown Fountain

The Crown Fountain, Designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. This sculpture is comprised of two towers that empty into a shallow pool. Facing each other, the towers periodically project images of people. The artists took videos of local people to generate the changing faces of the sculpture. The image of the people is projected internally onto the glass brick membrane.

Water periodically sprays out of the mouths of the sculpture.

This creates a whimsical aspect of the sculpture that lightens the somber faces of the people featured as the faces of the sculpture. The cascading water from the top of the fountain distorts the faces and is useful in providing relief from a hot summer day.