Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Museums
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Build completed in 2017
© Louvre Abu Dhabi, Photography: Mohamed Somji

Louvre Abu Dhabi, a new cultural landmark for the 21st century

Jean Nouvel as Architects

Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel sought inspiration for the concept of Louvre Abu Dhabi in traditional Arabic architectural culture, creating a ‘museum city’ in the sea covered by a vast dome. The 8 layered dome is a marvel of geometric design allowing light to penetrate the layers and creating a cinematic “rain of light” effect as the sun’s path progresses throughout the day. Supporting piers are hidden within the building to give the impression that the dome is floating. 


Louvre Abu Dhabi’s complex engineering concept has made it one of the most innovative and challenging museum projects built in recent times and garnished several prestigious international design and sustainability awards. 


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Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel sought inspiration for the concept of Louvre Abu Dhabi in traditional Arabic architectural culture, and designed Louvre Abu Dhabi as a ‘museum city’ in the sea. Its contrasting series of white buildings take inspiration from the medina and low-lying Arab settlements. In total, 55 individual but connected buildings, including 26 galleries, make up this museum city. The façades of the buildings are made up of 3,900 panels of ultra-high performance fibre concrete (UHPC).


The museum design is a collaboration between traditional design and modern construction techniques. The tranquil environment encourages visitors to enjoy the ever-changing relationship between the sun and the dome and between sea, buildings and land.


A vast dome, 180 metres in diameter, covers the majority of the museum city. This impressive structure is visible from the sea, the surrounding areas and Abu Dhabi city centre. Constructed by Waagner Biro (specialists in steel structures), the dome consists of eight different layers: four outer layers clad in stainless steel and four inner layers clad in aluminium, separated by a steel frame five metres high. The frame is made of 10,000 structural components pre-assembled into 85 super-sized elements, each weighing on average 50 tonnes.


The dome’s complex pattern is the result of a highly studied geometric design. The pattern is repeated at various sizes and angles in the eight superimposed layers. Each ray of light penetrates the eight layers before appearing or disappearing. The result is a cinematic ‘Rain of Light’ effect as the sun’s path progresses throughout the day. At night, it forms 7,850 stars visible from both inside and out. This ‘Rain of Light’ effect has been the subject of many models and mock ups over the years and is one of the defining features of the concept.


The dome is supported by four permanent piers, each 110 metres apart, hidden within the museum buildings to give the impression that the dome is floating. The interior dome elevation is 29 metres from the ground floor to the underside of the cladding. The highest point of the dome is 40 metres above sea level and 36 metres above ground floor level.


Louvre Abu Dhabi’s complex engineering concept has made it one of the most innovative and challenging museum projects built in recent times.


The construction of the museum took place from 2013 to 2017. Prior to completion, Louvre Abu Dhabi has already received three international awards: winner of the ‘Project of the Future’ category of the Identity Design Award in 2015; the European Steel Design Award in 2017, received with Waagner Biro, the Louvre Abu Dhabi dome specialist, and winner of the ‘Most Prominent UAE Project’ category of the Identity Design Award in 2017.


Interior exhibition spaces: The interior exhibition spaces, comprising museum galleries, temporary exhibition spaces and Children’s Museum, make up 8,600 square metres, with permanent galleries covering approximately 6,400 square metres.


The two-storey Children’s Museum lays out around 200 square metres for Louvre Abu Dhabi’s youngest visitors.


Museum galleries: Specially designed by Jean Nouvel, the floors, walls and ceiling surfaces of the museum galleries re-enforce the palatial dimensions of Louvre Abu Dhabi. The floor paving is made of stone modules framed in bronze: throughout the galleries, the choice of stone responds to the period of the artworks on show. The walls provide hanging flexibility: all subsidiary equipment may be concealed within special wall slots. Filtered natural light can be present in all the galleries, either from lateral windows with views onto the surrounding environment or through zenithal lighting. This involves the use of glass mirrors to capture sunlight and direct it into the gallery spaces while also scattering rays to avoid glare. There are 17 glass ceilings within the museum galleries. Each is made up of 18 different types of glass panels. In total, there are over 25,000 individual pieces of glass. These glass ceilings incorporate both natural and artificial lighting to provide an optimal lighting system for the artworks on display.


The display cases were also specifically constructed by Meyvaert in Ghent, Belgium for Louvre Abu Dhabi. They incorporate state-of-the art materials and have been designed to adapt flexibly to the rotation artworks on display. To meet stringent environmental control requirements within the museum galleries, the design team developed a system which cannot deviate by more than one degree from 21 degrees centigrade or 5% humidity range. This guarantees exceptionally stable environmental conditions for artworks and visitors. Fire detection and suppression systems within the galleries require special measures in order to avoid damage to the artwork.


Restaurant: Designed by Jean Nouvel, the restaurant at Louvre Abu Dhabi is made up of modular compartments. The intricate interior design takes inspiration from Arabic patterns, which have been engraved into Corian panels. The furniture, also designed by Jean Nouvel, complements the light-filled interiors and panoramic views of the sea. Bespoke chandeliers, designed by Jean Nouvel and manufactured by Mobilier national, hang over the seven VIP tables. The restaurant is expected to open in 2018.


Café: Jean Nouvel’s design for the museum café is inspired by the Op Art (optical art) movement of the 1960s. From certain angles, the café seems entirely monochrome (white); from others, the café interiors are full of colour, like an abstracted reflection of the local maritime environment and port opposite the museum. The floors, walls, ceilings and furniture have been designed specifically for the site by Jean Nouvel.


Furniture design: Jean Nouvel has designed a furniture series for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, known as the ‘Louvre Abu Dhabi Line’. Manufactured by Poltrona Frau, the furniture can be found in the public spaces, the exhibition galleries and VIP areas of the museum. The furniture is based on a modular system that can be adapted to the proportions of the space. Contrasting with the white buildings, the black leather furniture is both rigorous and ergonomic.


Wayfinding: Philippe Apeloig collaborated with Ateliers Jean Nouvel to design the signage of the museum. Text is in three languages, Arabic, English and French, and implemented in both Arabic and Roman script. Lebanese typographer Kristyan Sarkis created a bespoke Arabic typeface, Louvre Abu Dhabi Arabic, especially for the museum. This new typeface combines the classic Naskh style of Arabic calligraphy with Apeloig’s existing Colvert Arabic font. For the Roman alphabet texts, Apeloig chose Frutiger LT typeface due to its clarity and readability for signage. The design of the pictograms responds to the museum’s architecture, particularly the abstract shapes created by the ‘rain of light’ filtering through the dome's eight layers. Each pictogram is a combination of several of these shapes, creating silhouettes and objects.


Environmental features: The dome protects the buildings and outdoor plaza from the sun, improves comfort for visitors and reduces energy consumption. This allows visitors to circulate outdoors year-round in a self-regulated ‘micro-climate’. Low-profile but effective passive energy systems naturally enhance the cooling of the buildings and optimise water usage. The design team employed passive design techniques to improve sheltered outside conditions under the dome.


Passive design techniques use the natural form of buildings and inherent properties of materials to improve climatic conditions. The techniques incorporated in the design include: - Solar shading effect of dome roof and self-shading of buildings - Optimised roof perforations to allow daylight without excess solar gain - Exposed thermal mass such as stone floor and cladding that can benefit from night time cooling - Light-coloured and reflective materials


Other modern environmental technologies include: - Highly insulated and air-tight building envelope - Highly efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, lighting and sanitary fittings


Together, these techniques achieve the following benefits: - 42% reduction in solar gain - 27.2% reduction in energy use - 27% reduction in water use


Energy and water metering ensures resource efficiency, while leak detection flags any unintended water use.


Louvre Abu Dhabi’s design is targeting a LEED Silver rating and has achieved a 3 pearl Estidama Design Rating.


Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi as Client

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first museum of its kind in the Arab region and offers a new perspective on the history of art in a globalised world. An iconic architectural masterpiece designed by Jean Nouvel, it is located on the waterfront in Abu Dhabi’s cultural district on Saadiyat Island and is the result of a collaboration between Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE and France. The inaugural installation in its spacious collection galleries will present 600 works of art, half from its own rich holdings, and half consisting of stellar works visiting from its 13 partner museums in France. 


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The much-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi will open to the public on Saturday November 11, with a spectacular week-long series of celebrations. It is the first museum of its kind in the Arab region and offers a new perspective on the history of art in a globalised world. An iconic architectural masterpiece designed by Jean Nouvel, it is located on the waterfront in Abu Dhabi’s cultural district on Saadiyat Island. The inaugural installation in its spacious collection galleries will present 600 works of art, half from its own rich holdings, and half consisting of stellar works visiting from its 13 partner museums in France. The museum will also begin an ongoing programme of special exhibitions in December.


Louvre Abu Dhabi is the result of a unique collaboration between Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and France. The museum’s collection spans the history of humanity and will explore a universal narrative through artworks and artefacts from all over the world. The inaugural installation will take visitors on a chronological journey from prehistory to the present day, encompassing 12 chapters including the birth of the first villages; universal religions; cosmography; the magnificence of the royal court; and the modern world.


His Excellency Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture & Tourism and the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), said: “The UAE is proud of our rich heritage, while also embracing progress and change. We are a dynamic, vibrant and multicultural society, where people live in harmony and tolerance. This diversity is reflected in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection, which celebrates the innate human fascination with discovery. Each visitor will encounter extraordinary artworks and artefacts from global cultures that are both familiar and surprising. Louvre Abu Dhabi is the UAE’s gift to the world, and we look forward to welcoming our first visitors.”


Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, said: “Louvre Abu Dhabi sets a benchmark for the region, attracting the next generation of talented museum professionals. It has reinvented the 18th-century premise of the universal museum for a demanding contemporary audience. In a complex multi-narrative world, these ideas are more important than ever. By exhibiting works from diverse cultures in the same space, our curation shows the interconnectedness of different ideologies, aesthetics and artistic techniques. The museum story transports visitors through a history of humanity illuminated by our collection of exceptional treasures.”


Commenting on behalf of musée du Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of musée du Louvre and Chairman of the Scientific Board of Agence France-Muséums, said: “Today is the inauguration of Louvre Abu Dhabi; a museum like no other, which could be considered as the most ambitious cultural project of the early 21st century. It carries a message of openness, which is critical for our era. This incredible project was conceived in the Emirates and carried out as an inspiring partnership. Today, we are proud that expertise given by French museums, and the extraordinary artworks that have been gathered together, contribute to the achievement of this museum, which will amaze the world and make its mark in the history of museums.”


Architect Jean Nouvel has designed Louvre Abu Dhabi as a museum city (medina) which combines traditional Arabic inspiration with contemporary design and cutting-edge energy-efficient engineering. Visitors can walk along promenades overlooking the sea underneath the iconic dome, comprised of 7,850 unique metal stars set in a complex geometric pattern. When sunlight filters through, it creates a moving ‘rain of light’, reminiscent of the overlapping palm trees in the UAE’s oases.


Jean Nouvel, the architect of Louvre Abu Dhabi, said: “Louvre Abu Dhabi embodies an exceptional programme in the literal sense of the word. Its vocation 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 the space with the consciousness of time and of the moment through an evocative light of a spirituality that is its own.”


The collection Presented across 6,400 square metres of galleries, the museum’s growing collection includes more than 600 important artworks and artefacts, approximately half of which will be presented for the opening year. It includes ancient archaeological finds, decorative arts, neoclassical sculptures, paintings by modern masters and contemporary installations.


Jean-François Charnier, Scientific Director of Agence France-Muséums, said: “At Louvre Abu Dhabi, works of art provide the most eloquent testimony of the course of time, enabling its visitors to look back over the ages that have fashioned the world in which they live. Encounters with artefacts of different cultures give rise to emotions and questions, making this universal museum the ideal place to embark on a global history of humanity.”


Ancient masterpieces from the collection include a Bactrian Princess created in Central Asia at the end of the 3rd millennium BCE, a Grecian sphinx from the 6th century BCE and an Iranian gold bracelet in the shape of a lion. Visitors encounter works from universal religions, including sacred texts such as a Leaf from the “Blue Quran” and a Gothic Bible, as well as a Standing Bodhisattva from the 2nd or 3rd century and a white marble Head of Buddha from China.


Highlights from later periods include an ancient astrolabe, part of a display showing the science of cosmography; a red Chinese lacquer chest of drawers produced in France by Bernard II van Risenburgh, which shows the cross-cultural inspirations born from global trade routes; and Giovanni Bellini’s Madonna and Child, representing the emergence of religious art and iconography. Works such as a Bronze Oba head from the Benin Kingdom and Jacob Jordaens’ The Good Samaritan demonstrate the magnificence of royal courts around the world. A series of iconic paintings captures the emergence of the modern world, including Gustave Caillebotte’s Game of Bezique, Edouard Manet’s The Gypsy, Paul Gauguin’s Children Wrestling, Osman Hamdi Bey’s A Young Emir Studying, Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow and Black, René Magritte’s The Subjugated Reader and Pablo Picasso’s Portrait of a Lady. The museum’s contemporary art collection has nine canvases by Cy Twombly and a monumental sculpture by renowned international artist Ai Weiwei. As part of an ongoing programme of commissions, Jenny Holzer and Giuseppe Penone have created monumental site-specific installations, exhibited under the dome in open air and embedded in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s architecture.


Sharing art and expertise As part of the intergovernmental agreement between the UAE and France, Louvre Abu Dhabi has access to expertise and training from 17 French partner institutions. It will also benefit from the ability to borrow works of art from 13 leading French museums for 10 years, and from special exhibitions organised by these institutions for 15 years. Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, Chairman of Agence France-Muséums, said: “What more stimulating challenge could there be for the French museums and cultural institutions than to invent, in partnership with Louvre Abu Dhabi, a museum entirely unlike any other in existence? Committed all together, they remind us with Louvre Abu Dhabi that culture and education remain invaluable foundations that this museum, now open to one and all, embodies in so many ways.”


At opening, 300 works from French partner museums are on display. Some highlights include Leonardo da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronnière (musée du Louvre); Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait (musée d'Orsay et de l'Orangerie); a rare ivory saltcellar from the Benin Empire (musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac); a Globe by Vincenzo Coronelli (Bibliothèque nationale de France); a pair of gui vessels (musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet); Jacques-Louis David’s Napoleon Crossing the Alps (Château de Versailles); Auguste Rodin’s Jean d’Aire from the group The Burghers of Calais (musée Rodin); a 13th-century reliquary chest (musée de Cluny - musée national du Moyen Âge); a Chinese ewer of Persian shape (musée des Arts Décoratifs); a breastplate from Marmesse (musée d'archéologie nationale - Saint Germain en Laye); the sculpture Apollo Belvedere by Primatice (Château de Fontainebleau); and Standing Woman II by Alberto Giacometti (Centre Pompidou). Additional works from regional and UAE institutions will be on view at Louvre Abu Dhabi at the time of the opening. The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah provides key objects including a pendant dating back to 2000-1800 BCE and a painted Neolithic vase, discovered on the 8000-year-old settlement on Marawah Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi. Al Ain National Museum lends an important fragment of stucco from an ancient church in Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas Island.


Highlights of objects borrowed from within the region include a prehistoric stone tool dating back to 350,000 BCE, a milestone indicating the distance from Mecca in Kufic inscriptions and a funerary stele dating back to 700–900 CE from the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage; a collection of over 400 silver Dirham coins from the National Museum – Sultanate of Oman; and an 8000-year-old, two-headed figure from Jordan’s Department of Antiquities called the Ain Ghazal Statue.


Opening events The museum’s doors will open to the public alongside an exciting programme of multicultural music, arts and dance performances, workshops and, on November 11, Museum Reflections (Vives Réflexions) – a spectacular light show and firework display by world-renowned Groupe F. Running from November 11 – 14, this opening week programme was curated by Louvre Abu Dhabi in collaboration with Agence France-Muséums and Arwad Esber, Artistic and Programming Advisor. Special ticketed headline acts during opening week include a sold-out show by French singer and rock guitarist Matthieu Chedid, known as –M– (November 11); mesmerising Malian performer Fatoumata Diawara (November 12); Lebanese jazz and world musician Ibrahim Maalouf (November 13); and the magnificent singer and dancer Totó La Momposina (November 14), whose performances are inspired by Colombian-Caribbean traditions. Admission tickets are now available for purchase online. Space is limited; to purchase tickets


Children’s Museum The Children’s Museum at Louvre Abu Dhabi will also open to the public. This is an exploratory space providing the opportunity to engage with artworks from Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection to young visitors (aged 6-12) and their families. It presents its own special exhibitions, with artworks displayed in specially designed cases at children’s eye level and interactive mediation tools. With a range of immersive and interactive zones, the Children’s Museum offers a programme of hands-on activities and educational workshops. The inaugural exhibition in the Children’s Museum is titled Travelling Shapes and Colours. It explores shapes and colours, such as floral and geometric ornamentation, through a selection of works from artistic traditions across the globe, including 16th-century Turkish ceramics, 18th-century decorative French vases and a 19th-century painting by German artist Paul Klee.


Educational initiatives Louvre Abu Dhabi has worked in close collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, schools and universities in the UAE to develop educational materials and initiatives for students of all ages. During the opening week, it will launch an educational portfolio for teachers from primary to secondary levels. Over the past three years, Louvre Abu Dhabi has worked with a number of Emirati students through its Student Ambassador Programme, which trains and empowers young Emiratis to become skilled ambassadors for the project among their communities. In a collaborative effort running since 2009, Louvre Abu Dhabi and other Saadiyat Cultural District museums have organised a variety of programmes to engage and develop audiences with a wide range of backgrounds, interests and ages. To date, Louvre Abu Dhabi has presented a series of exhibitions including Talking Art (Abu Dhabi, 2009) and Birth of a Museum (Abu Dhabi, 2013 and Paris, 2014). The museum has staged more than 50 talks, such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi Talking Art Series, and run more than 80 workshops for families and young people. These explored the ideas behind the museum’s vision, highlighted significant works and offered opportunities to test the visitor experience and showcase the collections in anticipation of the opening.


Inaugural exhibition The inaugural special exhibition, From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone, opens on 21 December 2017. It traces the history of musée du Louvre in Paris in the 18th century. Divided into three sections, the exhibition will look at the royal collections at Versailles under King Louis XIV; the residency of the Academy and Salons in the Louvre, converted into a palace for artists; and the eventual creation of the musée du Louvre. The exhibition will feature approximately 150 significant paintings, sculptures, decorative arts and other pieces, mainly from the collections of musée du Louvre, but also from the Château de Versailles. The exhibition is curated by Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director, musée du Louvre, and Juliette Trey, Curator, Prints and Drawings Department, musée du Louvre.


Visiting information In addition to its 23 permanent galleries, special exhibition space and Children’s Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi features a 270-seat auditorium, restaurant, boutique and café. Opening hours for the museum galleries and exhibitions are: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 am - 8 pm; Thursday and Friday: 10 am - 10 pm. Last entry and purchase of tickets is 30 minutes prior to closing. The museum is closed on Mondays. Tickets to the museum cost 60 AED for general admission and 30 AED for visitors aged 13–22, as well as UAE education professionals. Free entry will apply to children under 13 years, ICOM or ICOMOS members, journalists and visitors with special needs as well as their companion. Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Art Club membership programme offers a range of exciting benefits and discounts as well as the chance to become part of the museum’s vibrant cultural community. Louvre Abu Dhabi offers a variety of guided walking tours and an audio tour through which visitors can explore the museum’s collection. Thematic walking tours are available on the museum’s masterpieces and architecture; there is also a child-friendly tour entitled A First Look at Louvre Abu Dhabi. The audio tour of the museum is offered in Arabic, English, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish.

The light of Artemide enhances the works on display at the new Abu Dhabi Louvre

Artemide as Lighting manufacturer

At the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the reflection on the relationship between light and architecture which Jean Nouvel and Artemide have been conducting for some time led to the development of a new version of the Cata spotlight designed by Carlotta de Bevilacqua. Artemide was selected to illuminate the exhibiting areas of the Abu Dhabi Louvre museum, as well as the public shopping areas with the catadioptric version of the Cata projector. Cata TIR conveys patented optoelectronic innovation, ensuring top-quality lighting and accurate control of emission, focus, operation, and top-level colour rendering.


The Cata projector can adjust to the continuous changes in the natural light that penetrates through the huge dome, providing flexible, controlled, and punctual illumination of works of broadly different dimensions, materials, ages, and styles.


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Here the reflection on the relationship between light and architecture which Jean Nouvel and Artemide have been conducting for some time has found a fruitful field of experimentation, leading to the development of a new version of the Cata spotlight designed by Carlotta de Bevilacqua.


“Illuminating the Abu Dhabi Louvre required a projector capable to adjust the light-to-shadow ratio, as well as to integrate into the large roofing and produce a well-defined flow of light on the works on display. The performance requested of Jean Nouvel for the museum was very specific and should satisfy several requirements to both integrate with the project for the large perforated roofing and enhance the museum display. We promptly realized that Cata was the ideal product for this project,” says architect Carlotta de Bevilacqua, “because, as an open platform, it could provide a comprehensive solution to all needs. Its ability to support different optical units allows to obtain the necessary lighting performances.”


Cata TIR conveys patented optoelectronic innovation, ensuring top-quality lighting and accurate control of emission, focus, operation, and top-level colour rendering.


The Cata projector can adjust to the continuous changes in the natural light that penetrates through the huge dome, providing flexible, controlled, and punctual illumination of works of broadly different dimensions, materials, ages, and styles.

Each individual appliance is set to a specific illumination level, which is kept constant in time as natural light conditions change, in full respect of the works on display and of the lightscape created inside the museum.


This rich performance is transposed into an appliance based on the principles of transparency and lightness. Its presence in space is thus dematerialized, granting the leading role to light.


Artemide was selected to illuminate the exhibiting areas of the big Abu Dhabi Louvre museum, as well as the public shopping areas with the catadioptric version of the Cata projector.


Service areas are fitted with appliances from the design collection, including Dioscuri, and office illumination is provided by the iconic and functional Tolomeo.

LOUVRE ABU DHABI

Nesite as raised floor manufacturer

Louvre of Abu Dhabi is a project of enormous complexity, with highly customized product that also includes the Leed certification. Nesite contributed to the completion of the project by installing over 20.000 sqm of high performances raised floor suitable for museum application with both high mechanical (class 5) and anti-seismic (Eurocode and UBS).


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Designed by Jean Nouvel, Pritzker prize winner, the Louvre of Abu Dhabi is one of the most ambitious cultural projects that includes 55 individual buildings inspired by the medina and Arab settlements.


The peculiarity of this prestigious work is the dome, which measures 180 meters and is made up of nearly 8000 metallic stars embedded in a complex geometric pattern which creates a spetacular “light rain” effect when it is lit by the sun.


Nesite contributed to the completion of the project by installing over 20.000 sqm of high performances raised floor suitable for museum application with both high mechanical (class 5) and anti-seismic (Eurocode and UBS).


Louvre of Abu Dhabi is a project of enormous complexity, with highly customized product that also includes the Leed certification.


MATERIAL SUPPLIED


01. Fully accessible raised floor, composed of:


» Calcium sulphate panels, core 38 mm thick, galvanized steel tray lower surface 1 mm thick and 20 mm thick marble or natural stone top covering of various types (Baolit, Black Marquina, Black Saint Laurent, Red Levanto, Oman Stone, Blue du Hainaut)Each panel has a perimeter protection frame in bronzed brass.


» Substructure BPC, completely galvanized steel, made of galvanized steel columns positioned with a special module 700x700mm.

» Connecting stringer in galvanized steel tube with a special reinforced square section 50x50mm, 2mm thick, suitable for extra-heavy loads.


02. Partially accessible raised floor, composed of:


» TETRIS FLOOR panels, made of calcium sulphate with tongue and groove sides, 32mm thick, 1500 kg/m³ density and  fire reaction class A1 (non-combustible)


» Substruttura MPL completely in galvanized steel, composed of galvanized steel columns, positioned with a standard module of 600×600 mm.


The flooring was entirely made with panels in special format, becoming a symbol of the Nesite skills in the creating of a “tailor made” floor. The production of marble panels from Oman was carried out in Sharjah (UAE).


DEVELOPER: TDIC Tourist Development and Investment Company

ARCHITECT: Atelier Jean Nouvel Paris

TOTAL AREA: 20.900 m2

YEAR: 2015-2017


SUPPLY AND INSTALLATION OF OVER 20.000 SQM RAISED FLOOR FOR THE PRESTIGIOUS MUSEUM LOUVRE OF ABU DHABI.


Louvre Abu Dhabi

BuroHappold Engineering Ltd as Engineers

Like the stars that guide the nomad in the desert, Jean Nouvel’s dome invites us to look up and contemplate our world. At the heart of the museum is a double dome 180 metres in diameter, offering horizontal, perfectly radiating geometry, along with 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.


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A unique cross-cultural collaboration

Louvre Abu Dhabi was born from a unique intergovernmental agreement between the United Arab Emirates and France, signed in 2007.


The agreement embodies a vision shared by France and Abu Dhabi to develop the first universal museum in the Arab world. It establishes Louvre Abu Dhabi as an independent institution, and includes the use of musée du Louvre’s name for 30 years and 6 months.


As per the intergovernmental agreement, Louvre Abu Dhabi has invaluable access to expertise and training from 17 French partner institutions, as well as loans from 13 leading French museums for 10 years. Additionally, these institutions will support with programming special exhibitions at Louvre Abu Dhabi for 15 years.


Through Agence France-Muséums (AFM), Louvre Abu Dhabi explores new approaches and bringstogether for the first time: musée du Louvre, Centre Pompidou, musée d'Orsay and musée de l'Orangerie, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, Réunion des Musées Nationaux et du Grand Palais, Chateau de Versailles, musée National des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet, musée de Cluny, Ecole du Louvre, musée Rodin, Domaine National de Chambord, musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, Cité de la Céramique - Sèvres & Limoges, musée d'Archéologie nationale - Saint-Germain en Laye, Château de Fontainebleau, and OPPIC (Operateur du patrimoine et des projets immobiliers de la culture).


Agence France-Muséums oversees the involvement of these partner institutions and provides direction for the curatorial and cultural programme, including guidance on creating the permanent collection, support for the temporary exhibitions and coordination of loans from partner museums. With around half of their team based in Abu Dhabi, AFM also provides Louvre Abu Dhabi with project management support during the museum’s construction, and input into its developing policies for visitors.


Curatorial statement: a universal museum in the era of globalisation

Like the stars that guide the nomad in the desert, Jean Nouvel’s dome invites us to look up and contemplate our world. At the intersection of mathematics and organic life, the dome delineates a realm unto itself, in which the space and time of the museum unfold. The dome also pays homage to the vital importance of shade in Arabia, and at the same time filters the light to create a kind of cosmic calligraphy of imaginary forms. Beauty is born from this adjacency of opposites.


Louvre Abu Dhabi is a universal museum, in our age of globalisation. The word “universal” derives from “unus,” or “one,” and “vertere,” or “to turn.” Does the world turn around a centre, just as the planets and the sun were long ago thought to turn around the Earth? Rather, we should understand this etymology in-versely—as a plurality that turns into unity, or as a striving for coherence. In that spirit—to demonstrate what humanity has in common—Louvre Abu Dhabi takes the path of universality.


The universal spirit is revealed in stages at the museum. Its galleries offer visitors a vast historical fresco of “the long and visible development of humanity,” as the French poet and writer Charles Péguy described an important attribute of a universal museum. This is illustrated at Louvre Abu Dhabi by works of art from around the world, from across eras and cultures, since the museum is blessed not only with a splendid collection but also with exceptional loans from French museums.


The succession of rooms thus becomes a narrative. After a prologue of masterpieces from multiple periods of time, an enigma prompts visitors to reflect on the meaning of universality. The majesty of the architecture animates this narrative, as do the individual galleries’ wall panels and digital elements. Everything is done to ensure that the visitors’ encounters with works of art give rise to emotions and questions.


The presentation of the works brings together cultures and civilisations in the same galleries, in explorations of the general spirit of their times. How else could we show the remarkable similarities between the Sumerian priest-kings and the pharaohs of Egypt, the reciprocal influences between China and the Islamic World, and the effects of the expansion of industrial civilisation? With the traditional partitioning of museum departments removed, we can see what the artefacts have to say in a different—and more universal—light. In the space of the museum, even in the space of a single display case, these dialogues establish new viewpoints and discoveries.


The shift in museum location, from Paris to Abu Dhabi, inevitably produces a shift in perspective. The concepts of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modernity, which place the West at the centre of history, become relative with respect to the advances of the universal world. Louvre Abu Dhabi undertakes, for example, to reveal the mixed or hybrid nature of so-called Western “modernity.” If the civilisations of Africa, the Americas, Asia and Islam gradually came under the influence of Western representations after 1500, those representations had in turn been borrowed on a large scale from the rest of the world. Western modernity is reconsidered here in Abu Dhabi, above all in the light of what the British anthropologist Jack Goody called the “theft of history” perpetrated by the West, which believed itself to be “modern,” at the expense of other civilisations, which were supposedly not. This reading of events is crucial for Louvre Abu Dhabi, conceived in the 21st century in a part of the world that is seeking to increase its influence by taking its place in the illustrious memory of manifold legacies.


And it is indeed in the Arab-Muslim world of the 21st century that Louvre Abu Dhabi is embedded. This shift in focus, necessary to the goal of cultural reappropriation, also possesses a historical logic. With its long tradition of centrality and interrelations, the world in which the new museum is located is heir to a vast cultural entity in the heart of Eurasia. The birth of Louvre Abu Dhabi is also taking place at a particular moment in the history of the area, when the Arab world is reasserting its culture, a change in which Edward Said’s Orientalism has played a key part.


This dynamic calls for a different narrative of the world. The one presented to visitors at the end of 2017 takes into account this new context, which has been developed by a team with a multiplicity of perspectives. The child of a globalised world, Louvre Abu Dhabi is also the offspring of the contemporary cultural mainstream, with its constant alternation of de-territorialisation and relocation. Thus the destiny of Louvre Abu Dhabi will long be forged in the complex dialectic between asserted identity and universal openness.

- Jean-François Charnier, Scientific and Cultural Director of Agence France-Muséums


Architectural statement: The museum and the sea

“All climates like exceptions. Warmer when it is cold. Cooler in the tropics. People do not resist thermal shock well. Nor do works of art. Such elementary observations have influenced Louvre Abu Dhabi. It wishes to create a welcoming world serenely combining light and shadow, reflection and calm. It wishes to belong to a country, to its history, to its geography without becoming a flat translation, the pleonasm that results in boredom and convention. It also aims at emphasising the fascination generated by rare encounters.


It is rather unusual to find a built archipelago in the sea. 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, before being welcomed like a much-awaited visitor willing to see unique collections, linger in tempting bookstores, or taste local teas, coffees and delicacies.


It is both a calm and complex place. A contrast amongst a series of museums that cultivate their differences and their authenticities.


It is a project founded on a major symbol of Arab architecture: the dome. But here, with its evident shift from tradition, the dome is a modern proposal.


A double dome 180 metres in diameter, 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 becomes the final destination of an urban promenade, a garden on the coast, a cool haven, a shelter of light during the day and evening, its aesthetic consistent with its role as a sanctuary for the most precious works of art.” - Jean Nouvel, architect of Louvre Abu Dhabi


Masterpieces of the universal narrative

Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection

Presented across 6,400 square metres of galleries, the museum’s growing collection of exceptional treasures includes more than 620 important artworks and artefacts spanning the entirety of human history around the world. It includes ancient archaeological finds, decorative arts, neoclassical sculptures, paintings by modern masters and contemporary installations. At opening, 235 works from Louvre Abu Dhabi’s own collection are displayed in the galleries.

Louvre Abu Dhabi began acquiring works in 2009. Since then, some works have already been displayed as loans in eminent cultural institutions such as Centre Pompidou Metz, musée d’Orsay, National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., Kimbell Art Museum, musée de l’armée and Fondation Yves Saint-Laurent Pierre Bergé.


Leading French museums lend major works

Louvre Abu Dhabi will present 300 significant works on loan from 13 leading French museums for the inaugural year. These include masterpieces representing civilisations and artistic movements from significant moments in global human history, including ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, ancient Chinese dynasties, the Kingdom of Benin in present-day Nigeria, the Renaissance, the Impressionists and the Modernists. Many of these will be displayed in Abu Dhabi for the very first time, including Leonardo da Vinci’s seminal work La Belle Ferronnière, on loan from musée du Louvre.


French museum partners will lend artworks to Louvre Abu Dhabi for a period of 10 years, decreasing over time as the permanent collection grows.


Significant loans from the region

Louvre Abu Dhabi has partnered with important museums and cultural institutions in the Arab world who will lend 28 significant works.


The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah provides objects including a pendant dating back to 2000-1800 BCE and a painted Neolithic vase discovered on Abu Dhabi’s 8000-year-old Marawah Island settlement. Al Ain National Museum lends an important fragment of stucco from an ancient church in Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas Island.


Highlights of loans from the region include: a prehistoric stone tool dating back to 350,000 BCE from the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage; a collection of over 400 silver Dirham coins from the National Museum – Sultanate of Oman; and the Ain Ghazal Statue, an 8000-year-old two-headed figure from Jordan’s Department of Antiquities.


The first of the Saadiyat Cultural District museums, Louvre Abu Dhabi will open with a display of artworks from the collections of Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Zayed National Museum lends a selection of calligraphic works on paper, including Ottoman scrolls containing important paintings, texts and letter forms. Louvre Abu Dhabi’s contemporary chapter features works from Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s collection by renowned artists such Abdullah Al Saadi, Ibrahim El-Salahi and the late Hassan Sharif.


Louvre Abu Dhabi’s galleries

The narrative is organised into 12 chapters across the museum’s galleries.


The Great Vestibule

Through a series of ancient works, the Great Vestibule presents universal themes that highlight surprising similarities between early civilisations: gold death masks, maternity figures, water containers, writing instruments, precious reliquaries, decorative patterns featuring the sun, figures at prayer and horseriding. The similarities between the artworks are not explained, but are there to make visitors ask questions. It invites the visitors to walk into the galleries.


Gallery 1: The First Villages

It took millions of years for the human species to spread across the globe from its origins in East Africa. However, by 10,000 BCE, in the Near East, China and Central America, communities settled for the first time and domesticated animal and plant species, which led to the appearance of the first villages. Despite regional differences, the first village communities seem to have shared a desire to bind their community together, by means of beliefs and rituals around their ancestors. Human representation developed in the form of these female figurines that seem to express preoccupations with fertility. The wealth generated by profits from agriculture and livestock supported the birth of the first forms of power. 


Gallery 2: The First Great Powers

The first kingdoms appeared in the fertile valleys of the Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, Indus and Yellow River around 3000 BCE. The emergence of these first great powers was accompanied by the spread of bronze weapons. Axes, swords and armour became emblems of prestige and splendour for the powerful. The new warrior elite also began to ride horses, a development that spurred long-distance exchanges, increased the size of kingdoms and broadened the horizons of communities.


With the development of the kingdoms of Mesopotamia and Egypt came the birthof the first cities, a crucial event in the history of humanity. Resulting from a population surge and a strong hierarchical organisation of society, the first cities became social and cultural melting pots that encouraged exchange and innovation. One fundamental invention was writing, which facilitated transactions and helped legitimise power.


Gallery 3: Civilisations and Empires

From about 1000 BCE, on most continents the first kingdoms gave way to vast cultural and political groups. The Assyrian and then Persian empires dominated the Middle East, while Greek cities became established around the Mediterranean basin. The Nok and Olmec cultures spread across West Africa and Mesoamerica respectively. The evolution, encounters and clashes of these empires stimulated artistic and philosophical fusions whose influences are still felt today.


After setting out from the Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 334 BCE, Alexander the Great forged an unprecedented political union between Europe and Asia, which led to the formation of immense empires. As Rome, in its heyday, expanded its domination over the whole Mediterranean region, the Han Empire was expanding enormously in China. The collapse of these empires led to a regeneration of artistic forms that would be used by universal religions to communicate their message. 


Gallery 4: Universal Religions

Beginning around 2000 years ago, the spread of universal religions succeeded in reaching most of the civilised areas of Europe, Asia and Africa in just a few centuries. By addressing their message to all humanity without distinction, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam transcended local cultural characteristics and deeply transformed ancient societies.


These religions shared with Judaism the concept of monotheism but diverged on such subjects as the representation of the divine. Their expansion was sometimes conflictual and brought them into contact with other beliefs, such as Hinduism in Asia, Confucianism and Taoism in China, Shintoism in Japan, and Animism in Africa. Religion had by then become a factor that unites communities and exerts an influence on intellectual and artistic activities across continents.


Gallery 5: Asian Trade Routes

The expansion of universal religions occurred in parallel with the establishment of vast networks of exchange between continents. In Asia in the 7th century, China became the main actor in these exchanges and a major hub for innovation. The invention of porcelain, gunpowder, paper and printing characters was to change the world. China passed most of its inventions to the Arab-Muslim world along the land and sea routes used in the silk trade.


The Islamic civilisation lay at the heart of this thriving trade network linking Asia, Europe and Africa. From the 8th to 10th centuries, Baghdad witnessed a golden age of the arts and sciences. The caravan routes taken by merchants crossed the paths followed by pilgrims, and promoted the spread of new modes of thought. These exchanges boosted the circulation of exotic materials and luxury items like silk, ceramics, jewellery, incense or ivory.


Gallery 6: From the Mediterranean to the Atlantic

The Mediterranean basin was the culminating point of the commercial and cultural routes across Asia and Africa. From the 11th century, exchanges increased between the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic world and Christian Europe, in spite of their rivalries and conflicts. While the cities of Venice and Genoa took an active part in these exchanges, the Iberian Peninsula, divided between Islam and Christianity, became a site of rich cultural diversity.


In Europe, competition between Christian kingdoms and flourishing trade contributed to economic and scientific development. At the end of the 15th century, Portuguese navigators explored the coastline of Africa and opened new trade routes to the Indian Ocean. The crossing of the Atlantic and discovery of the American continent created contact between Europe and the Amerindian civilisations, which had until then remained isolated.


Intersection: Cosmography

Around 1500, for the first time since the beginning of humanity, man was able to travel all around the globe. Great navigators, such as Ibn Majid, Zheng He and Christopher Columbus, established direct contact between lands that up until then had remained remote or unknown to one another. Civilisations that had once traded on the grounds of geographical proximity gradually engaged in a system of exchanges on a global scale. The world witnessed an early form of globalisation.


Awareness of the magnitude of the world prompted questions about the meaning of the universe. Instruments used in navigation and cosmography developed rapidly. The first travelogues were published, recounting journeys to distant lands, while maps and globes charted the contours of this new world. The exotic materials and strangely-shaped works of art that filled “cabinets of curiosities” in Europe illustrated this fascination for distant and mysterious lands.


Gallery 7: The World in Perspective

Pioneering voyages broadened horizons and offered a new perspective of the world. Discoveries in the fields of mathematics and optics transmitted from the Arab world to Europe in the 15th century had important consequences for art. Forming the foundation of the geometric and abstract approach to representation in Islamic art, they also enabled European artists to create depth and three-dimensionality in images.


The flourishing intellectual and artistic activity of the time was called the Renaissance by Europeans who were rediscovering their Antiquity. For artists and architects, it provided an aesthetic model that profoundly renewed the representation of the human body and landscapes. In China, too, artists found inspiration in the models of the past to strengthen the cultural and political legitimacy of their monarchs. Meanwhile, the Arab-Islamic world developed an international style that placed emphasis on the use of geometric and floral forms.


Gallery 8: The Magnificence of the Court

Encounters between different worlds led to unprecedented rivalry between rulers. This phenomenon took on a new dimension in the 17th century and occurred simultaneously throughout Europe, China, the Muslim empires and the kingdoms of Africa. Sovereigns glorified themselves by displaying symbols of their power and commissioning majestic representations of their royal person and court. Equestrian portraits became a widespread form of representation.


Monarchs competed to attract the best artists, commission new decorative settings and invest enormous amounts in the construction of palaces and religious buildings of exceptional opulence. The magnificence of court life, the luxury of costumes and weaponry and the splendour of art collections gave rulers a dazzling image that was designed to overshadow other kingdoms and states.


Gallery 9: A New Art of Living

During the 18th century, the affluence enjoyed by monarchs was attained by an increasingly large segment of society. The spread of manufactured products around the globe progressively transformed economies and stimulated new modes of consumption. Greater attention was paid to the furnishing and decoration of houses and to clothing. In China, Japan and Europe more manufacturers offered goods to an increasing number of customers.


Across all continents, the arts reflected an increased emphasis on the private sphere, the individual and the family. With the growth in global exchanges, the arts developed an imaginative image of remote lands and cultures. Europe was increasingly pervaded by a philosophy of progress and reason referred to as the Enlightenment. This intellectual movement focused on the individual and their role in history, as illustrated by the American and French revolutions at the end of the century. 


Gallery 10: A Modern World?

Economic competition between nations gave birth to the Industrial Revolution in Europe. Having been an instrument of Europe’s colonial enterprise, this revolution spread progressively to the rest of the world during the 19th century. The development of means of transport and colonisation impacted all civilisations, which, in return, provided European artists with inspiration.


Technical progress and artistic creation were glorified in universal exhibitions.

Photography, a product of industry, took on an important role in the art world. By capturing reality and eliminating distance, it gave the individual the impression of taking possession of the world. Since its invention, photography revolutionised artistic creation, prompting painters in Europe, then around the world, to drastically alter the way they capture images and translate the real world onto canvas.


Gallery 11: Challenging Modernity

During the 20th century the notions of modernity and progress, which the industrial and colonial West had spread across the planet, were brought into question. The two world wars and many instances of decolonisation challenged a great number of certainties. Artistic creation reflected these developments, experiencing constant reinvention, punctuated by divisions and radical movements such as abstraction, ready-mades and the imaginative universe of the Surrealists.


Echoing the remarkable pace of modern life, the rapid succession of artistic movements constantly opened new perspectives. The boundaries of art were continually redefined, extended and in constant transformation. The avant-garde movements in Paris and elsewhere in Europe attracted artists from all over the world. The growing influence of North American artists coincided with the broadening of artistic horizons to encompass the world as a whole.


Gallery 12: A Global Stage

At the beginning of the 21st century, the scale of communication around the globe seems to have transformed the planet into a global village. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the end of a historical era in which the West had occupied centre stage. The economic rise of most continents has given way to a multipolar and multicultural world in which artists have taken it upon themselves to invent a different version of modernity.


The instant spread and omnipresence of television and internet images place the representation of the world in a state of constant self-reflection. Creative works have become mirrors of our collective memory stirred by identity issues, the self as a narrative, as well as our concerns about our fragile planet. Artists continue to help us raise or put these existential questions in perspective, as they have done since the dawn of humanity.


Commissioning contemporary artists

Louvre Abu Dhabi invites renowned contemporary artists to create site-specific installations, inspired by the museum’s ethos, architecture and collections, as part of an ongoing commissions programme.


At opening, Louvre Abu Dhabi will present the first commissions, For Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jenny Holzer and Germination by Giuseppe Penone. Their monumental installations will be displayed under the museum’s dome in open air.


Giuseppe Penone and Jenny Holzer have worked closely with Louvre Abu Dhabi’s team and Jean Nouvel to develop sculptures and installations that integrate into the architecture and reflect the universal stories of the museum.


For Louvre Abu Dhabi (2017), limestone reliefs by Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer’s textual installations inscribe Louvre Abu Dhabi’s celebration of cross-cultural dialogue into the very walls of the museum. Holzer has selected three important historic texts from three distinct world traditions, and reinterpreted key passages in immense scale as engravings on the museum’s walls.


The content and aesthetics of the three texts are, individually and collectively, unusually well-suited to Louvre Abu Dhabi’s universal vision. Though they originate from different civilisations in different parts of the world, they each reveal an author grappling with essential truths about humanity and reflect on the origins of civilisation, the recording of history and the dynamics of cross-cultural exchange.


The oldest of the three texts is a Mesopotamian clay tablet which recounts a creation myth imagined almost 4000 years ago, telling the story of the creation of humans from blood and clay. Bilingual in Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform scripts, it is an early example of the art of translation, which can be traced back to the birth of writing in Mesopotamia. Excavated from the ancient city of Assur in present-day Iraq, the clay tablet is part of the Vorderasiatisches Museum collection in Berlin, Germany.


From the MuqaddimahbyIbnKhaldun, Holzer reproduces three pages which explore the soul, spirit, music and language, and present a poetic ode to the art of calligraphy. In his text, IbnKhaldun (1332–1406), the father of modern historiography, considered how societies can understand their pasts, while producing a lively picture of humanity’s achievements in Islamic theology, philosophy, natural sciences, chemistry, alchemy and aesthetics. Dating from 1377 and written in Arabic, the Muqaddimah is part of the collection of the AtifEfendi Library in Istanbul.


The third source textis Michel de Montaigne’sLes Essais. Holzer has drawn on Montaigne’s own 1588 manuscript from the Bibliothèque de Bordeaux, which contains copious handwritten annotations supplementing the printed text. The selected pages, written in Old French, feature Montaigne’s revisions to three essays devoted to self-determination, the challenges of writing, the tasks of criticism and the celebration of poetry, and demonstrate his quest to understand the true nature of the world through discussion, dialogue and conversation. Les Essais is regarded as a bridge between ancient, Renaissance and modern thought.


Artist’s statement

“It's delightful to work on this significant new museum. Louvre Abu Dhabi sets an ambitious agenda for itself, and raises lively questions about museums and civilisations. It’s a privilege and a challenge to realise an installation that joins Jean Nouvel's architecture and that speaks with the fantastic works the museum will display. I made my walls in close relation to Jean Nouvel's building, which I saw as an ideal archaic village under a most beautiful futuristic sky dome.” – Jenny Holzer


Special exhibitions 2017 & 2018

Louvre Abu Dhabi will present four special exhibitions each year, curated and organised in collaboration with French partner institutions and Agence France-Muséums. This rich and diverse programme complements the permanent collection and enhances the museum’s universal narrative.


Special exhibitions in the first year will explore the history of Paris’ musée du Louvre; the representation of the world through spheres; early photography; and the decorative paintings of the Nabis group.


In addition to these exhibitions, Co-Lab: Contemporary Art and Savoirfaire will also be on display during the opening year.


From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone

The inaugural special exhibition, From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone, opens on 21 December 2017, and traces the history of musée du Louvre in Paris in the 18th century. Divided into three sections, the exhibition will look at the royal collections at Versailles under King Louis XIV; the residency of the Academy and Salons in the Louvre, converted into a palace for artists; and the creation of the musée du Louvre. It will feature approximately 150 significant paintings, sculptures, decorative arts and other pieces, mainly from the collections of musée du Louvre, but also from the Château de Versailles.

The exhibition is curated by Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director, musée du Louvre, and Juliette Trey, Curator, Prints and Drawings Department, musée du Louvre. 


Co-Lab: Contemporary Art and Savoirfaire

This is a collaborative project, a "skills workshop" that gave four UAE-based artists the opportunity to work with four premium historical French manufacturers. Carefully paired based on shared inspirations and complementary techniques, the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres welcomed TalinHazbar to work on ceramics, the Manufacture de Beauvais opened up its art of weaving to Khalid Shafar, the Haute Verrerie d’art de Saint-Just collaborated with ZeinabAlhashemi and the MTX BroderieArchitecturale studios teamed up with VikramDivecha.


The process, initiated throughout an exchange programme, paired artistic research with the high standards of the historical French craftsmanship, traditionally open to the innovations of contemporary artists. This project focused on transmission and exchange. The temporary exhibition presents the final artworks, created by the artists and produced by the French manufacturers.


Co-Lab is part of the Emirati-French Cultural Programme: Dialogue with Louvre Abu Dhabi initiative established by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Institutfrançais.


The World in Spheres

The exhibition will explore the representation of the world from antiquity to the present day through a collection of important globes.


The first globes were produced in the 4th century BCE by the Greeks, but between the 8th and 15th centuries, Muslim astronomers were at the forefront of astronomic research, and created exquisite globes and astrolabes. 125 celestial globes from the Islamic world remain in existence today, with the oldest dating from the 11th century. This ancient science was passed through Muslim Spain in the 10th century and re-emerged in Europe as scientists began generally to accept the theory of a spherical Earth. Globes became both a tool for explorers to navigate the world and a means to tell stories about their new discoveries through artistic interpretations of the map. While navigational technology has improved beyond imagination, globes have continued to be household objects in various forms to the present day.


The World in Spheres will be curated by Catherin Hofmann, Chief Curator at BibliothèqueNationale de France and François Nawrocki, Chief Curator at the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève.


Opening the Album of the World: Photographs, 1842-1896

This exhibition will look at early photographs produced using the first methods in different parts of the world, created by Western explorers as well as the very first local and international photographers.


Photography in its current form was invented around 1839, a period of discovery and colonial expansion. Photographers were sent out into the world on European ships to document the distant lands and peoples they encountered. Drawing on the collections of the musée du quaiBranly – Jacques Chirac and other institutions, the exhibition travels from continent to continent through a selection of photographs produced between 1842 and 1895 by various practitioners. It includes many images captured by international photographers appropriating this new technology for their own ends, including Colombian, Turkish, Indian, Brazilian, Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese and Russian photographers, and a variety of different photographic formats, from daguerreotypes to travel albums.


The exhibition will also present the first images of the Arabian Gulf region: 1850s photographs of Yemen, and an image of the Hejaz from 1861.

It will be curated by Christine Barthe, Curator, Head of the Photographic Collection at musée du quaiBranly – Jacques Chirac.


The Nabis and modern decoration: An East-West dialogue

Louvre Abu Dhabi’s fourth special exhibition will present around 30 remarkable decorative paintings from the group of artists known as the Nabis, from the collection of musee d’Orsay, alongside a number of Japanese prints and folding screens from muséeGuimet and Louvre Abu Dhabi. It will highlight the dialogue between Eastern and Western traditions and will demonstrate the fundamental contribution made by the Far Eastern aesthetic to the development of modern decoration.


Active in France between 1888 and 1900, the Nabis hoped to break down the barriers between different artist genres, and embraced decorative painting and scenery-making for stage productions. Core members of the group were particularly influenced by Japanese ukiyo-e, and the exhibition will include four sections illustrating the aesthetic principles espoused by the Nabis through their paintings in dialogue with Japanese art.


The exhibition will be curated by Isabelle Cahn, Chief Curator for paintings at musée d’Orsay.


Developing an audience of museum visitors

Since 2009, Louvre Abu Dhabi and other Saadiyat Cultural District museums have organised a variety of programmes, including, talks, workshops, concerts and exhibitions, to engage local audiences of different backgrounds and ages.

These programmes offered an opportunity to showcase the collections, test forthcoming visitor experience tools and develop a growing audience of enthusiastic visitors.


To date, Louvre Abu Dhabi has delivered four exhibitions:

Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi (2009), a preview of 19 works acquired for the permanent collection, including two canvases by EdouardManet; a Chinese white marble Buddha head, 550-577 CE; a 16th-century Venetian ewer; and a 1480s Madonna and Child by Giovanni Bellini


Birth of a Museum, held in Abu Dhabi (2013) and Paris (2014), which unveiled a selection of 130 works from the permanent collection in Abu Dhabi and 160 in Paris, including a lion-shaped gold bracelet made in Iran nearly 3000 years ago; a fibula (brooch) in gold with garnets from Italy dating from the fifth century CE; paintings by Jordaens, Manet, and Magritte; a papiercollé by Picasso; and nine paintings by Cy Twombly


Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories (2015), a display in two parts linked by the Portrait of Fayoum, an ancient Egyptian funerary painting


Al Qalam – Arabic for ‘the pen’ – explored the art and development of the written word through a selection of texts including a Qur’an bifolio, miniatures and a manuscript


Immortal Figures featured sculptures from diverse cultures, including an 18th- or 19th-century Papua New Guinean wooden statue, a Nepalese gilt copper Buddhist figure, and an Italian bust of Saint Peter Martyr dating to 1490


To date, Louvre Abu Dhabi has staged over 50 talks, many as part of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Talking Art Series. This recurring discussion platform explored the museum’s themes and ideas through the collections, and covered topics including:


Light as a symbol of religion and philosophy, as interpreted through a 14th-century mosque lamp on loan from musée du Louvre in Paris


Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection of Indian miniature paintings, acquired from film director James Ivory


Collages and ready-mades in modern art, which took Picasso’s Portrait of a Lady as a starting point


Rethinking Islamic art in new museums, presented as part of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Art programme


Over the past years, Louvre Abu Dhabi has also run more than 80 workshops for families and young people as part of the museum’s continuing education and engagement programme. 


Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Club

The Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Club membership programme offers guests a range of exclusive benefits as well as the chance to become part of a vibrant cultural community.


Throughout the year, there will be special opportunities for members and their families to enjoy exclusive enhanced experiences, events and activities, such as first previews of the museum’s special exhibitions.


Art Club members can visit and revisit Louvre Abu Dhabi, discovering something new every time. Members and their guests can also enter the Musée du Louvre in Paris, and other partner museums, at no charge.


Members also receive priority booking and preferential prices for auditorium events, activities, workshops and guided tours, as well as a 15% discount at the museum café, which offers beautiful views over the Abu Dhabi waterfront.

Twelve-month options include a Member+1 package, with unlimited free access for a member and one guest (450 AED), or Member+5, which includes up to five named guests (1500 AED).


Inspiring the next generation

Louvre Abu Dhabi is a place of discovery and learning, open to everyone.

The museum welcomes children, families and young audiences, and provides the tools and opportunities for all visitors to explore the collections.


Developing the nation’s youth into highly educated critical thinkers is central to the UAE’s investment in the future. Louvre Abu Dhabi’s approach prompts audiences – including children, teenagers and young adults – to look closely and think deeply about the artworks on display and the wider cultures and ideas they represent.


The museum has already had a significant impact on the UAE’s educational landscape, and continues to offer training and opportunities to support an emerging generation of enthusiasts and museum professionals.


The Children’s Museum: A special place for families

Guests aged 13 and younger can enjoy unlimited complimentary entry to Louvre Abu Dhabi.


The Children’s Museum at Louvre Abu Dhabi is an exploratory space providing the opportunity to engage with artworks from the museum’s collection to young visitors (aged 6-12) and their families.


It presents its own special exhibitions, with artworks displayed in specially designed cases at children’s eye level and interactive mediation tools. With a range of immersive and interactive zones, the Children’s Museum offers a programme of hands-on activities and educational workshops.


The inaugural exhibition in the Children’s Museum is Travelling Shapes and Colours. It explores shapes and colours, such as floral and geometric ornamentation, through a selection of works from artistic traditions across the globe, including 16th-century Turkish ceramics, 18th-century decorative French vases and a 19th-century painting by German artist Paul Klee.


Travelling Shapes and Colours will remain on view until November 2018.


Family workshops

Louvre Abu Dhabi’s initiatives for children and families include an ongoing programme of tours, workshops and interactive sessions, inviting young visitors to explore Louvre Abu Dhabi through activities such as calligraphy, mask-making and visual storytelling.


Run by expert staff at Louvre Abu Dhabi, these activities encourage children to learn about and try out a range of artistic methods, practices and concepts at age-appropriate levels.


Children’s workshops 15 November to 31 December 2017

Workshops in the Children’s Museum (aged 6 and upwards)


·        Geometric Patterns – 90 minutes (families)

Fridays 17:00 to 18:30

Identify all the different shapes in the artwork exhibited in the Children’s Museum. Back in the workshop, explore making different geometric patterns inspired by Islamic motifs before designing your own unique pattern.  


·        Make a Kaleidoscope – 90 minutes (families)

Saturdays 14.30 to 16:00

Explore all the different colours in the artworks displayed in the Children’s Museum. Back in the workshop, play with colour and together build a kaleidoscope to invent new patterns.

Workshops including gallery interaction


·        Visual Storytelling – 90 minutes (families)

Saturdays 11:00 to 12:30

Explore a range of artworks from different cultures and discover how artists communicated their stories centuries ago. After the tour of the galleries, devise a story inspired by the collection and work together to create a comic strip that shares your message with the world.

·        Calligraphy Decorations – 90 minutes (families)

Fridays 11:00 to 12:30 and Saturdays at 14:30 to 16:00

Explore how calligraphy is integrated into architecture and everyday objects. In the workshop, use galam and paintbrushes to work together as a family to decorate an object with your own special story inspired by your visit to Louvre Abu Dhabi.


Workshops for children and teenagers


·        Architecture (ages 9 to 13 years)

Thursdays 17:00 to 18:30; Saturdays 17:00 to 18:30

Discover the architecture and the natural elements that inspired Jean Nouvel’s modern interpretation of the traditional dome and museum. Observe how the complex geometric shapes radiate an oasis of light across the site. In the workshop, investigate how the architect created the dome by working together to reproduce a large-scale model of Louvre Abu Dhabi.


·        Put on your mask! (ages 8 to 12 years)

Wednesdays 17:00 to 18:30; Fridays 17:00 to 18:30

Investigate two masks in the Louvre Abu Dhabi collection and unearth how masks were used in different civilisations. Discover how human and animal forms inspired the design of these spectacular masks. Back in the workshop, use your research to create a mask using an assortment of 3D materials.


Schools

Since its inception, Louvre Abu Dhabi has worked closely with schools, universities and Abu Dhabi’s Department of Education and Knowledge to develop a range of resources suitable for students of all ages, integrate the museum into the national curriculum and inspire students to explore fields such art history, archaeology, anthropology and museum studies.


Louvre Abu Dhabi provides a range of resources for educators, including guides to significant artworks which offer question prompts to engage students and ideas for interactive classroom activities. The materials are available for school tour groups and classroom teaching.


During its opening week, Louvre Abu Dhabi will launch an educational portfolio for teachers from primary to secondary levels. This includes detailed descriptions of Louvre Abu Dhabi artworks linked to elements of school curricula, with observation prompts, discussion guides and hands-on activities appropriate for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. The activities are designed to promote a thought-provoking and imaginative approach to art, the pleasure of discovery and the importance of students’ own views and ideas.


Higher education

Since Louvre Abu Dhabi was announced, the UAE has witnessed a significant increase in the number of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees available in related subjects, including New York University Abu Dhabi’s art history major, which offers a Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies track; a Master’s degree in History of Art and Museum Studies at Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi; and a Master’s in Museum Studies at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi.


Louvre Abu Dhabi works with these and other programmes to share resources, offer internships and encourage students to enter careers in the cultural and creative industries.


Now in its second edition, Emirati students from all fields have participated in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Student Ambassador Programme, which trains and empowers young Emiratis to become skilled ambassadors for the project among their communities.


Professional development

Supporting the development of the UAE’s next generation of cultural professionals is a central pillar of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s mandate. The UAE’s cultural sector is evolving rapidly, and by building a skilled workforce of talented museum professionals, Louvre Abu Dhabi contributes to its continued growth.

Since the project was initiated, Louvre Abu Dhabi has invested in world-class training and work placements at French partner museums to develop its staff. Today 66% of the museum’s team are UAE nationals, including curators, conservators, researchers and education specialists. 


Project team
Lighting manufacturer
Architects
raised floor manufacturer
Products used in this project
Product Specifications
BrandCategoryProducts
ArtemideArtemideLighting manufacturer
NesiteNesiteraised floor manufacturer
Hunke – Jewellers and Opticians
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Hunke – Jewellers and Opticians

Shops and Showrooms
Aspergerstr. 2 / Kirchstr. 13-15, 71634 Ludwigsburg , Germany - Build completed in 2017
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