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Seeing Double: The Second Louvre Museum Just Opened in Abu Dhabi
Heather Ash
byHeather Ash

The Louvre 2.0 just landed… in Abu Dhabi. Recently opened in November of last year, Louvre Abu Dhabi’s mission is to bring different cultures together to showcase the shared stories of humanity. The project, conceptualized in 2007 between France and the UAE, seeks to develop a new kind of cultural institution by representing Abu Dhabi’s rich multicultural heritage and the contemporary Arab world. Focusing on uniting humanity through stories that transcend time, place and culture, the galleries are are organized chronologically, not geographically, starting with prehistory to modern day.

Inside, find exhibits like “From One Louvre to Another,” showcasing 17th-18th century French works from the Chateau de Versailles or “Co-Lab: Contemporary Art and Savoir-faire,” showcasing artisans in the UAE and French manufacturers working together to create new crafts.

Designed by renowned architect Jean Nouvel, the 55 building space is a “micro city” that extends from land to sea as an archipelago so guests can arrive by boat or foot. At the center of it all is a silvery “floating” dome that weighs more than the Parisian Louvre’s counterpart, the Eiffel Tower. The dome is designed after the cupola, a prominent Arabic architectural feature.

Beyond just a pretty facade, the dome has an important environmental role to play. The massive dome provides shade to the buildings beneath it so less energy is used to cool them. It also provides a pleasant, shady walk for guests moving from building to building. With eyes on attaining silver LEED status, Louvre Abu Dhabi is one smart museum.

Photography by Luc Boegly and Sergio Grazia

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