Move over Paris; there’s a new Louvre in town. But seriously, move over.
Just last week, the capital of the United Arab Emirates announced the opening date of a new museum: Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The museum, set to open in a few short months on 11 November 2017, is the first of its kind in the Arab world – a universal museum that focuses on shared human stories across civilisations and cultures.
But will it look the same as its Paris equivalent? Well, it might be even better.
French architect and winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Jean Nouvel, has designed a museum city under a vast silvery dome, similar to the Paris Louvre.
Visitors can walk through the promenades overlooking the sea beneath the museum’s 180-metre dome, made up of almost 8,000 unique metal stars set in a complex geometric pattern. And when sunlight filters through, it creates a moving ‘rain of light’ beneath the dome, reminiscent of the overlapping palm trees in the UAE’s oases. Dreamy.
But forget the architecture, because this museum will house some artistic gems, some from France’s top museums.
On display will be an important collection of artworks, artefacts and loans from France. These span the entirety of human existence: from prehistorical objects to commissioned contemporary artworks, highlighting universal themes and ideas and placed in positions that are a far cry from traditional museography – which often separates art according to origin.
There will also be a boutique, a Children’s Museum and a cafe, not to mention different exhibitions at the museum, located on the edge of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.
There’s set to be some epic opening celebrations, including symposiums, performances, concerts, dance, and visual arts by renowned corny temporary and classical artists – all open to the public.
So is it worth a trip to Abu Dhabi just to see the new Louvre in action? Tickets are only $20 – so probably.