In the past 15 years since Condé Nast Traveller was created in the UK, architecture has made a dramatic and often surreal impression on the landscape of our planet. Jonathan Bastable celebrates the most fantastical and inspiring creations, from a tentacle-clad museum to a giant mirrored jellybean.
This Chicago park is a kind of cultural zoo-garden, a recreational urban space in which to sample sculpture, music, dance, design and other arts. The centrepiece is Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, known locally as the Jelly Bean. The Chicago cityscape, and you the observer, are reflected and distorted in its polished surface as if in a hall of mirrors. Elsewhere in the park is Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain: two mini tower blocks, 50ft tall, the glass façades of which are movie screens displaying the features of Chicago people, forehead to chin. At certain moments, water gushes suddenly from the pouting mouths of these cinematic gargoyles. It is postmodern art – but with a human face.