Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi finally gets opening date

It is an architecture that is protective of its treasures, it is a homage to the Arab city, to its poetry in geometry and light
– Jean Nouvel

The long-delayed and even longer-awaited Louvre Abu Dhabi has finally been given its launch date, with the Jean Nouvel-designed cultural institution opening to the public on 11 November.

A string of setbacks dating back by more than decade have delayed the AED4.3bn (US$1.2bn, €1bn, £914m) project, which anchors the under-development Saadiyat Cultural District – where one day the Zayed National Museum designed by Foster and Partners and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi by Frank Gehry will follow in its footsteps.

The roof’s dome is an artwork itself, with eight layers of steel creating a ‘rain of light’ made up of 7,850 patterned perforations that use the sun to create an intricate and ever-changing pattern on the building’s interior.

Water is a key part of Nouvel's building, with a system based on ancient Arabic engineering being used to allow water to flow between the outer areas of the museum and to the galleries inside.

The museum’s development took a major step forward in June last year, when the temporary sea wall surrounding the structure came down, flooding the area around the building, giving the illusion that it is floating on the water.

On display will be the museum’s collection of artworks, its curation one of the reasons for the lengthy delays. The galleries will showcase 600 works of art, including 300 loaned by 13 French museums for the inaugural year. The remaining collection has been sourced from all over the world, with pieces spanning the entirety of human existence: from prehistoric objects to commissioned contemporary artworks.

In addition to the 23 permanent galleries, the museum will include exhibitions, a Children’s Museum, a restaurant and a café. Dubai-based construction firm Arabtec Holdings has been tasked with the build, with French architect Nouvel designing the structure and Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company overseeing the project.

“After several years of study and construction, guests will be able to enter this place of light, this revelatory meeting place of a number of planetary cultures beyond the seas and centuries,” said Nouvel.

“It is an architecture that is protective of its treasures, it is a homage to the Arab city, to its poetry in geometry and light, and, under the large cupola, it is an evocation of the temporalities which inexorably punctuate the hours, days, and the passing of our lives.”

The inaugural special exhibition, From One Louvre to Another: opening a museum for everyone, will debut on 21 December, with the temporary exhibition tracing the history of Musée du Louvre in Paris.

Jean Nouvel  Louvre Abu dhabi  visitor attractions  galleries  art  Dubai  architecture  design 
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Louvre Abu Dhabi hits major milestone as temporary sea walls come down

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Louvre Abu Dhabi on course for mid-2016 handover

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