Reecha Kulkarni / November 14, 2017
The Louvre Abu Dhabi finally opened to the public over the weekend, after the announcement was made over a decade ago. If you’re planning to visit one of the most anticipated buildings of this year, we’ve gathered six cool facts you’d want to know about it:
1. It was designed by a Pritzker Prize winner
Jean Nouvel, the man behind structures like Fondation Cartier and Torre Glories in Spain, was naturally chosen to design the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a museum set to bridge the gap between cultures and expound Orientalism. With structures like Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and The Koncerthuset in Denmark under his belt, Nouvel is well versed with the art of designing cultural hubs. However, his designs have always been varied, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s “floating dome” and geometric intricacy mimics no other.
2. It is now a part of Abu Dhabi’s “Museum City”
If UAE wasn’t a tourism destination already, Saadiyat would force it to the top of every travel itinerary around the world. The low-lying island was developed by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, to include luxury residential projects, museums, schools and art centres. The Louvre Abu Dhabi will neighbour the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum, the Saadiyat Beach Club and other high-profile projects.
3. The Dome weighs almost as much as the Eiffel Tower
The silvery latticed dome only seems to be floating because of the hidden pillars within the museum. It would be hard for the 7,500 tonnes of stainless steel to float which, in yet another subtle connection to France, weighs almost as much as the Eiffel Tower (7,300 tonnes). 4. 503,000 cubic metres of sand were moved Mountains (of sand) were moved for the foundation of the museum, which now occupies 97,000 sq metres, with 8,600 sq metres as the indoor exhibition space. In addition, 2,000 sq meters will be dedicated to temporary exhibitions and a children’s museum will occupy 200 sq metres of space.
4. 503,000 cubic metres of sand were moved
Mountains (of sand) were moved for the foundation of the museum, which now occupies 97,000 sq metres, with 8,600 sq metres as the indoor exhibition space. In addition, 2,000 sq meters will be dedicated to temporary exhibitions and a children’s museum will occupy 200 sq metres of space.
5. US 525$ million was spent on just the name of the museum
Mimicry is known to flatter, but the Abu Dhabi Government paid its price, to the Paris government. An Emirati request to use the same name as the Louvre in France was accepted almost a decade ago, after a billion dollars sealed the deal – and half a billion was spent on the name.
6. Spot Arab influences around the modern building
Although you wouldn’t see this structure in the Ottoman Empire, Nouvel brought in context through various design intricacies. A modern take on a traditional Arabic souk, long passages and shaded spaces make an appearance, while the dome is inspired by thatched palm leaf roofs. Nouvel also layered almost 8,000 patterned perforations across the dome, bringing in a “rain of light”, with each ray of the sun creating shifting shadows throughout the museums.
Photo: View overlooking the sea © Louvre Abu Dhabi, Photography: Mohamed Somji