The Louvre Abu Dhabi- ‘See humanity in a new light”
- November 20, 2017
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a world that extends itself over the entirety of the human experience, bridging divisions and drawing civilizations together under one magnificent, glittering domed roof. Here you get to witness the splendor of humanity’s collective legacy under a shade of natural lights.
Recently opened in 11th November 2017, the museum rests serenely on Saadiyat Island and is the first Louvre museum to open outside Paris. Containing 600 exceptional exhibits that span diverse mediums from painting to sculpture, tapestry and beyond as well as masterpieces from the ancient and contemporary world, these relics of humanity are spread out over 23 galleries, and 12 “chapters” of human civilization.
This amazing architecture structure was designed by Jean Nouvel, a Pritzker-prize winning French architect. Nouvel designed everything from the light fittings to leather furniture as well.
A synthesis of traditional Arab architecture as well as universal themes, it is designed as a ‘museum city’ with a cluster of white blocks spreading out in formations that resemble the squares and streets of low-lying Arab settlements with façades made from 3,900 panels of ultra-high performance fibre concrete.
Each room has its own stone carpet, mined from different parts of the world and inlaid with bronze edging. The calm, breathable layout of the space is accentuated by occasional windows leading out to the courtyards, sea and sky outside.
Inspired by an ancient system of Arab engineering, a water channel runs through the museum and the entire structure displays elements of the “passive” design strategy which takes advantage of the natural shape of the buildings as well as the properties of the materials to improve outdoor conditions. Materials employed range from silvery marble to dark bronze with ceiling heights varying as well.
Light-reflecting materials in pale colors are used to repel instead of absorb heat while the museum’s roof is perforated to capture daylight without letting in too much sun. A quiet courtyard of reflecting pools is placed at the entrance to the gallery.
Glass ceiling panels molded in 17 different patterns hang above the galleries contained within the museum. However, it is the slightly low-slung, 180-metres (590ft) wide dome adorning the structure that is the ‘star’ of the show.
Floating almost weightless, the dome is constructed from an irregular honeycomb of stainless steel and aluminum and open to the air on all sides, filtering the sunshine into gorgeous patterns of light that rain down onto the granite below. The delicate light pattern that flows downwards is similar to the claustra lattice of mashrabiyas. Pierced with openings, the dome resembles the traditional interwoven palm leaves used as roofs in the Emirates.
The dome is supported by only four permanent piers, each 110 metres apart that are hidden within the museum buildings with the highest point of the dome 40 metres above sea level.
A geometric motif of stars is repeated at different angles and in different sizes, forming a complex arrangement in eight distinct layers (four internal and four external).
The dome serves a practical function and not just a decorative one. The sea breeze is naturally funneled under the dome and the combination of air currents as well as shade reduce ambient temperature by at least five degrees.