After 10 years of planning and construction, the museum Louvre Abu Dhabi finally opened it’s doors beginning of November. It’s located in the cultural district of Saadiyat Island, right next to the ocean and exhibits artifacts from ancient times to the present day. The architectural masterpiece is absolutely breathtaking and has become a must-see destination for everyone from architect to art lovers from around the world.
White cubical buildings spread out beneath a gigantic steel dome. From afar, it doesn’t look like much. But once you’re inside, you realize that the beautiful and unique architecture of the building is already an art piece itself. Designed by the French iconic architect Jean Novel, who wanted to create a museum city (medina), it combines traditional Arabic inspiration with contemporary design. Serenely combining reflection and calmness, light and shadows, a place where warm meets cold. The geometric architecture is reinforced through seamless reflections in pools and visitors can walk along promenades overlooking the sea. A gigantic steel roof, set in a complex geometric pattern serves as protection from the sun, but also it looks a light installation. When sunlight filters through, it creates a moving “rain of light”, reminding of the overlapping palm trees of an oases.
The museum features 23 permanent galleries, a special exhibition space, a Children’s Museum, restaurants, boutiques and a 270-seat auditorium.
It was founded by the United Emirates and 13 French Museums, like the museé de Louvre, Centre Pomidou, museé dÒrsay, museé National des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet, museé du quad Branly-Jacques Chirac and many more. They agreed with the museé de Louvre that they could use the name for 30 years and 6 months, however; being an independent institution. The 13 leading French museums agreed to support the new Louvre Abu Dhabi special exhibitions for the next 15 years. The Agence France-Muséums overlooks all the organization and provides the cultural programme, support of the temporary exhibition, creating permanent collections and coordinates the loans from the partners. Also it includes that artworks can be borrowed between the Abu Dhabi Louvre and the 13 leading French Museums. The cultural collaboration between the United Arab Emirates and the France was signed in 2007 and it took 10 years to fulfill their vision of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It is a fantastic project where all cultures meet in one place and are combined by pieces of art.
The museums collection, which is presented across 6,400 square meters of galleries, combines history of humanity and explores the artefacts from all over the world. It brings together a combination of eastern and western art. With the Louvre Abu Dhabi they are combining diverse cultures, different ideologies, aesthetics and a multi-narrative in one space. There are around 600 important artworks all around the museum from sculptures to paintings to ancient archaeological finds. As you can see they have everything there. One can say that it is a universal museum in the era of globalization. At the opening of the museum there were artworks from Leonardo da Vinci (La Belle Ferronière), Vincent van Gogh (Self-Portrait), Pimatice (sculpture of Apollo Belvedere), Jacques-Louis David (Napoleon Crossing the Alps) and many more world famous artists and sculptures.
Since so many Museums are supporting the Louvre Abu Dhabi you can experience such a diversity of art works that you forget where you are. The museum enables you a trip through humanity, cultural diversity and so much history that it is one of the most unique museums.
AND ONE FOR THE CHILDREN
They have even build a children’s museum, where kids can interact with artwork. The art is displayed on their eye level with interactive mediation tools so they can experiment with the art pieces shapes and colors. This is a great place for families to hang out and experience art on a complete different level. Also the Museum works very close with the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge to encourage young people’s passion for art. They are organizing a series of talks and workshops for families and young people to explore the ideas behind the museum’s vision and to share the art knowledge between the people.
However, even though you have so much fascinating art around you, I am most impressed by the beautiful museum building. The dome of the Louvre Abu Dhabi is like an an art piece of light. Just sitting there and enjoying the beauty of the architecture, is already absolutely fascinating.
Address: Saadiyat Cultural District, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Photos: Louvre Abu Dhabi, Roland Halbe