The tourist flow towards the United Arab Emirates tend to stay along the lines between desert safari and endless shopping craze. This consumerist lifestyle, also supported by the government, is often criticized to neglect culture and arts. After more than 10 years of work, this is about to change drastically.
Louvre Abu Dhabi has been under construction since a decade. Designed by the famous French architect Jean Nouvel, it will finally open its doors on the 11th of November, 2017. Consisting of 23 galleries and 55 buildings in total, it will stand as a museum city on its own, maybe to the extent to make Abu Dhabi a destination for arts.
Located on the Saadiyat Island, the design of the museum is especially interesting because it reflects on the contemporary architecture models as well as the Arabic traditions and religion. Embracing the sea in the way Oriental communities did in the past, there is a water channel running through the museum. This is specifically an inspiration based on the ancient falaj system that existed in the Arabic settlements.
Along with the water channel, the most striking part of the museum is the huge dome which is yet another reflection on the Arabic architecture. In the complex geometry of the dome, there are 7,850 stars in different sizes and angles. When the sun is hovering, the light that passes through the stars in the dome reflect it and create an effect like light rainfall. Visitors will be able to follow this light into new paths through a luminous experience.
The museum is also very much environmentalist. The roof is designed to capture enough daylight but does not let too much in given the way light-reflecting materials in pale colors have been used. Instead of absorbing, the materials repel the heat. Considering the climate in the United Arab Emirates, it is extremely efficient, sustainable and reasonable.
With its symbolic and remarkable exterior design, Louvre Abu Dhabi entails a vision of fostering dialogue between the East and the West, displaying the similarities and bridges between different cultures. This goal is further supported by the vast amount of collections to be exhibited in the museum.
Louvre Abu Dhabi will be hosting collections brought from the Paris museum as well as works donated by the Arabic authorities, ensuring a great variety of works during the entire year. Through a time span of prehistoric to modern artworks, the museum will endorse art from almost every period in the history.
On the Saadiyat Island, there will be soon more openings, one of which is the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Both museums are abyssal on their own, but Louvre and Guggenheim built on the very same island is a truly enchanting idea.