Design & Desire
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
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. “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 dome’s complex pattern is the result of a highly studied geometric design
The construction of the museum took place from 2013 to 2017. Prior to completion, Louvre Abu Dhabi had 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. Jean Nouvel has designed Louvre Abu Dhabi as a museum city (medina) which combines traditional Arabic inspiration with contemporary design and cuttingedge energy-efficient engineering.Visitors can walk along promenades overlooking the sea underneath the iconic dome, comprising 7850 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 commented: “Louvre Abu Dhabi embodies an exceptional programme in the literal sense of the word. Its vocation
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