After ten years of collaboration between France and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and designed by the famous French architect Jean Nouvel, Louvre Abu Dhabi opens this week to the public.
Located on Saadiyat Island and surrounded by the sea, it comprises twenty-three galleries and permanent exhibition spaces, a Children’s Museum, an auditorium and a research center are connected by promenades that lie under the iconic dome of the building.
“It is a project founded on a major symbol of Arab architecture: the dome”. But according to the architect “her its evident shift from, the dome is a modern proposal” explains Nouvel.
The double-dome 180-meter diameter features ” offering horizontal, perfectly radiating geometry, a randomly perforated woven material, providing shade punctuated by bursts of sun. the dome gleams in the Abu Dhabi sunshine. At night, this protected landscape is an oasis of light under a starry dome.”
“Louvre Abu Dhabi embodies an exceptional programme in the literal sense of the word. Its location is now to express what is universal throughout the ages. Its architecture makes it a place of convergence and correlation between the immense sky, the sea-horizon and the territory of the desert. Its dome and cupola imprint space with the consciousness of time and of the moment through an evocative light of a spirituality that is its own.”
“It is rather unusual to find a built archipelago in the sea,” continues the architect addressing the project’s unique location. “It is even more uncommon to see that it is protected by a parasol creating a rain of light. The possibility of accessing the museum by boat or finding a pontoon to reach it by foot from the shore is equally extraordinary”
Photography: Roland Halbe