After opening a satellite museum in the French city of Lens in 2012 to relieve the crowded Louvre in Paris, the Musée de Louvre is all set to inaugurate its second, universal museum in November, 2017. But it’s not in Europe.
Instead, it’s in Abu Dhabi in November this year. Built on Saadiyat Island, the Louvre Abu Dhabi floats on an artificial island and is covered entirely by a giant dome.
Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the museum is supposed to reveal a “human and universal story”. Jean François-Charnier, director of Agence France-Muséums and curator of Louvre Abu Dhabi said in a speech, “We want to allow visitors to see the communication between civilisations over time and this gives the museum a narrative that is chrono-thematic with 12 key steps, each one of which represents a key moment in the history of humankind. We also want a shift in focus. This museum is designed and built in Abu Dhabi, not Paris, so other continents – the Indian sub-continent, Asia, China – all of these had to be considered.”
Nouvel told The National that he wanted to construct something that is a neighbourhood, not simply a building. “I wanted to create a place where you come and you come back. And you have the desire to come over often.” He believes that the architecture will bridge land and sea and aspires to create a museum city, with more than 600 pieces of art underneath the impressive, intricate dome that is the highlight of the structure.
This dome is a complex architectural wonder, built with more than 400,000 individual elements. Appearing to float above the water, it is perforated to create a “rain of light” as visible in the video above.
The museum has been a decade in the making, and will finally open its doors to visitors on November 11.