lovers may decide to skip Paris, Rome and New York in favour of Abu Dhabi.
oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates is embarking on a years-long venture to transform itself into a
world-renowned arts and culture destination, the crown jewel of which will be
Abu Dhabi. Dubai-based construction firm Arabtec announced
on Tuesday that it had won the 2.4 billion dirham construction contract for
the Middle East outpost of the famous French museum and will begin construction
French architect Jean Nouvel, the museum will encompass some 24,000sqm of
pavilions, plazas, alleyways and canals, with about 8,000sqm of exhibit space.
When completed, the museum, located on Saadiyat Island, will resemble a
perforated dome floating above the water, designed to represent rays of sunlight
passing through date palm fronds in an oasis. The Gulf Emirate paid
4.8 billion dirham to use the Louvre name for 30 years, receive training
from Louvre staff and gain access to the renowned Paris museum’s artwork collection.
The construction is expected to be completed in 2015.
Abu Dhabi will feature artwork from around the world, including pieces on loan
from several French museums including the Louvre,
the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Musee d’Orsay and the Palace of Versailles. The
UAE site has already acquired a sculpture of a Bactrian princess dating to 3000
BC, a fountain from the early Ottoman period, the paintings Breton Boys
Wrestling by Paul Gauguin, and The Subjugated Reader by Rene Magritte, as well
as a collection of French and American photography.
Of course, the
Louvre Abu Dhabi is just one part of the Saadiyat
Island’s Cultural District, an ambitious plan to house the largest single
cluster of world-class cultural assets in the world. Also in the works are the Guggenheim
Abu Dhabi, a modern art museum designed by world-renowned Canadian-American
architect Frank Gehry; the Sheikh
Zayed National Museum,
which will chart the nation’s history; The
Performing Arts Centre,
containing a music hall, concert hall, opera house, drama theatre and
performance space, designed by prizewinning Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid;
and the Maritime
Museum, an homage to the UAE’s seafaring history, designed by Japanese
architect Tadao Ando.
November 2012 Abu Dhabi Art Fair,
Louvre Abu Dhabi architect Nouvel extolled
the planned cultural district. “I’m very proud to participate in the materialization
of this golden age, and this pushes us to go higher and beyond and further,
because we are doing something that the whole world is looking at.”