Museum in the Sea

The much-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi has finally opened its doors – and what an architectural feat it is!

Inspired by the traditional architecture of the United Arab Emirates, French architect Jean Nouvel has created a striking new addition to the Abu Dhabi cityscape. Located on Saadiyat Island close to the city centre, the museum is the first of its kind in the Arab world.


The space houses over 600 acquisitions, ranging from prehistoric artefacts to contemporary artworks, with about 300 loans from various French museums, including the Musée du Louvre in Paris. The museum’s most remarkable feature is the large central dome that appears to float above the rest of the buildings.

The design was inspired by the cupola, a distinctive feature of Arabian architecture, and comprises around 8 000 metal stars, which are repeated at different angles and layers to create a ‘rain of light’ effect inside the building, much like dappling through palm trees. Geometry and light are central to the design.

The museum’s permanent pieces include the funeral set of Princess Henuttawy, a remnant of ancient Egypt dating back to the 10th century BC, while the loan collection will boast Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘La Belle Ferronnière’ and a self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh.


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