Photographer Iwan Baan has released images of Anish Kapoor’s long-awaited reflective sculpture in New York, which stands at the base of the 56 Leonard Street skyscraper by Herzog & de Meuron in Tribeca.
The mirrored sculpture was completed by Kapoor in January, almost 15 years after it was commissioned, and is similar to his work called Cloud Gate – known as “The Bean” – in Chicago.
He is balloon-like in shape and sits on the sidewalk at the base of Herzog & de Meuron’s 56 Leonard Street skyscraper, known as the Jenga Tower for its protruding shell.
“The city can feel hectic, fast and tough, imposing architecture, concrete, noise,” Kapoor said.
“My work at 56 Leonard Street proposes a form that, though made of stainless steel, is also soft and ephemeral.”
“Mirrors cause us to pause, be absorbed, and be dragged in a way that disrupts time, perhaps slowing it down; it is a material that creates a new kind of immaterial space.”
Measuring 48 feet long and 19 feet (15 x 6 meters) tall, the sculpture is smaller than the Chicago iteration and weighs 40 tons compared to Cloud Gate’s 98.
The sculpture rests entirely on the ground. Part of it is housed under one of the tower’s two-storey cantilevered apartments and juts out onto the street.
In this way it appears to be compressed by the tower itself, giving the sculpture a sense of movement while appearing to support the tower.
With a heavily mirrored surface, the sculpture reflects pedestrians and drivers on the busy Manhattan street.
According to developers Alexico Group, the sculpture will be “fully integrated into the structure of the iconic tower”, making it an “unprecedented collaboration between sculpture and architecture”.
No official name has yet been given to the sculpture, and a spokesman for Alexico Group said a dedication and naming ceremony will be held in the coming months.
Originally commissioned in 2008, it took almost 15 years for the sculpture to be realized. It was initially delayed by an economic slowdown, and construction eventually began in 2019.
However, construction halted in 2020 due to Covid travel restrictions preventing Kapoor’s UK-based construction team from entering the country, leaving the structure half-complete and earning it the nickname of the half bean.
Kapoor is known for his conceptual artworks, including his invention of Vantablack, a pigment that absorbs 99 percent of light directed at it and is exclusively owned by Kapoor.
His other work in New York included a “bottomless” hot tub installed in Brooklyn Bridge Park during the 2017 NYCX Design Festival.
The photograph is by Iwan Baan.