Game of Shadows: A Look Inside the New Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first foreign outpost of the famous Louvre Museum in Paris. A similar sense of grandeur has been translated into the project that took ten years of preparation.

Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first foreign outpost of the famous Louvre Museum in Paris. A similar sense of grandeur has been translated into the project that took ten years of preparation. Located in an emerging cultural district – Saadiyat, the building was designed by a French architect Jean Nouvel. Known for projects such as the Quai Branly in Paris or the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, Nouvel’s work is always put into a local context.

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The characteristic mosaic dome in Abu Dhabi is a hint to Parisian ‘cour carre’ and features the same dimensions – 180 meters in diameter. By covering a large part of the complex, the entering light minimizes energy consumption and creates an exceptional game of shadows.

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The architect took plenty of inspiration from Arab culture – medinas and falaj engineering systems that gave birth to a water channel incorporated into the premises. The aim was to build a ‘museum city’ in the sea which is why Louvre Abu Dhabi is a complex of over 50 separate buildings.

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The collection inside the museum creates a visual history of the modern world from the earliest civilisations. The first artwork it has acquired was Mondrian’s ‘Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow and Black’ back in 2009. Huge part of the collection comprises of borrowed works from 13 French galleries. There are 20 galleries forming a 12-chapter journey.

 

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The enlarging collection includes Da Vinci’s ‘La Belle Ferroniere’, sculptures by Auguste Rodin, ‘The Subjugated Reader’ by Rene Magritte or Cy Twombly’s series of painted panels. The art on loan will change regularly while the institution continues to develop the collection.

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Discuss in Kanban.

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