China’s latest knockoff of a widely recognizable landmark is taking shape in the city of Karmay. It’s a huge shiny, bean-shaped sculpture that bears a striking resemblance to Anish Kapoor’s “The Bean”, formally titled, "Cloud Gate," located in Chicago’s Millennium Park. According to Chinese news agencies, the sculpture is named "Big Oil Bubble" and was meant to resemble not the “Bean” but an oil bubble, to commemorate the site of the city’s first oil well. Karamay means “black oil” in the Uyghur language, and the “Big Oil Bubble” is said to be located where the first oil well was dug.
Like the “Cloud Gate”, Karamay’s “Big Oil Bubble” arches slightly off the ground, allowing people to explore its underbelly. But there are a few differences. The surface of the Chinese version is slightly warped to mimic the texture of oil, while the Bean’s surface is completely smooth. Many smaller blobs of metal, meant to represent drops of oil, surround the main bubble. The designers have also installed LED lights beneath the sculpture, rather than leaving it bare like in the original, that bounces off the shiny surface to create colorful, lightning-like streaks.
The "Big Oil Bubble" in Karamay, China. Photo creditRead more »
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