Page 16 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine III

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The total brokered deal will see Abu Dhabi benefit from
art loans, elite exhibitions and priceless management
advice from France. This is without doubt a huge boon –
one only has to think of the Mona Lisa aka La Joconde,
the most famous painting in the world to realise that the
support of the Louvre in Paris is going to prove absolutely
invaluable to the success of this thrilling art gallery on
Saadiyat Island.
The Mona Lisa hangs in the Louvre in Paris as the
museum’s leading attraction – the most celebrated,
reproduced and romanticised piece of art. We can only
guess at what illustrious masterpieces will appear in the
new Louvre and can’t wait to spend an afternoon of sheer
bliss wandering through the galleries for ourselves – a
definite date for A&J’s diary! The Louvre Abu Dhabi
will be 24,200m2 (260,000ft2) in stature covered by
an umbrella-like roof. With 6,000m2 of galleries to be
dedicated to permanent displays and another 2,000m2 for
temporary exhibitions, each collection will be the result of
considered expert research and the galleries will open their
doors to the public in successive phases.
An icon within the cultural district
Designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect Jean
Nouvel, this historic museum is scheduled to be the
first internationally established icon within the cultural
district. The eagerly awaited Louvre Abu Dhabi will be a
real gem in the cultural district of Saadiyat Island and one
that we literally can’t wait to explore for ourselves when
it opens its doors – hopefully next year. The foundations
were designed by UK based consulting engineers Buro
Happold and apply an intricate piling system in order
that they attain the intended 100 year design life and
also to minimise the risk of water intrusion. Already
widely considered as a marvellous feat of engineering,
Jean Nouvel’s magnificent structure seems at first glance,
to float and its web patterned dome allows sun to filter
through and cast its rays over the exhibits which are
planned to include art throughout the ages from all
regions as well as an impressive selection of Islamic art.
Jean Nouvel has said that he relied on; “the performance
of light and shadow to create the feeling of discovering
something”. What an understatement! Discovering
‘something’ – there is so much waiting to be discovered
under the roof of this highly anticipated museum that is
sure to pull in visitors from around the globe.
The museum will cost €83m ($108m) to build and the
gallery will be named after Sheik Zayed Bin Sultan Al
Nahyan. Over the next decade, it is expected that Abu
Dhabi will spend approximately €400m developing its
own collections of fine arts and works in archaeology.
Primarily displaying classic artefacts, the Louvre will also
showcase pieces from all historic eras, so there really will
be something to appeal to all art lovers with thought-
provoking exhibitions changing throughout the seasons. It
is sure to become renowned as one of the world’s premier
art galleries and we already know this is a place that we
will want to visit time and time again.
The Guggenheim
As huge art lovers, one of the biggest attractions drawing
us to Saadiyat Island is the promise of a transnational
platform for global contemporary art and culture that
will stage the most significant artistic achievements of our
time. We’re referring of course to the greatly anticipated
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The internationally acclaimed
Guggenheim New York is one of the most significant
architectural icons of the 20th Century. What a coup then
that the magic is to be recreated in the heart of Saadiyat’s
cultural district. Global in scope, the Guggenheim Abu
Dhabi will act as a powerful platform for modern 21st
century culture whilst also reflecting the importance of
the cultural traditions of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab
Emirates with a strong focus on art from the Middle East.
Designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be located on the North
Western tip of Saadiyat Island with spectacular views
of the Arabian Gulf. Inspired, in part, by the Suleiman
Mosque and Le Mont St. Michel, Gehry describes his
composition for the building as “intentionally messy,
moving into clarity”. The Guggenheim will stand at four
stories tall with multiple galleries on top of each other.
Gehry is an architectural genius and has created so much
more than a building. Gehry’s concept is simple. His
vision was to create something that would capture the
imagination of every visitor. As he said himself; “I want
the building to engage people emotionally” – when you
look at it, he has certainly achieved this with an iconic
structure that is a masterpiece all of its own. Gehry was
enthused both by the location and the objective of the
museum and wanted to push the boundaries to create a
cultural institution that would attract people from all over
the world. The site itself, set in a desert landscape close
to water on all sides and with a beautiful light quality
inspired him to create a piece of architecture that will set
the standard for future projects. A truly wonderful piece
of architecture to behold, before you even step through
the door, you are being treated to a genuine work of art
to feed the eyes and engage the soul. At 320,000 square
feet (30,000 m2) this architectural tour de force will be
the world’s largest Guggenheim museum and has been
designed with capacity for approximately 130,000 square
feet (12,000 m2) of exhibition space.
The first universal museum in the Arab world, planned to provide a stage for the artistic
expressions of different civilizations and cultures, from the most ancient to the most
contemporary, the Louvre in Abu Dhabi is currently under construction and will aim to
follow in the huge, world-famous footsteps of its French counterpart. In Paris, the Louvre
has held a prestigious place in the city since the late 12th century, undergoing successive
architectural metamorphoses. Having secured an exciting deal with the Louvre in Paris
to adopt the name, borrow beautiful works of art and stage special exhibitions, the Abu
Dhabi Louvre is promising great things to visitors through its doors.