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Modern Middle East: Part i, Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jean Nouvel

Categories: Architecture + Interiors

This is my first time posting for 2modern, so Hi!  My name is Danielle and I writing from my flat in Dubai UAE, and I am so appreciative of Greg and the 2modern team for giving me a place to spill my creative energy – other than onto the consciences of my architect husband and our families back at home…
                                                                                                                        

Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (“Island of Happiness”) is soon to be home to four of the world’s most famous and prominent architectural accomplishments, including 3 museums and 1 performing arts center by 4 of the world’s most renowned architects: Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry and Tadao Ando.  In addition to being an uninhibited, ambitious, pedestrian-friendly developing island, Abu Dhabi is about to add to it’s roster of accomplishments: one of the world’s culture capitals of the world.  If Dubai is like L.A., glitz and glamour galore, then Abu Dhabi is like San Francisco.  It’s got roots.  It has history.  It has culture that is inherent and not manufactured.  And it is about to have a whole lot more culture to speak of.

Over the course of 15 years, this ‘happy little island’ will phase into a mecca of art-meets-architecture, quenching the hunger for a large portion of eye – and brain – candy.  That is sure to make many people very happy.

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Slated to open in 2012 is the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a sister satellite to the Louvre Paris, designed by Jean Nouvel.  What can I say, this museum is like art come to life.  A canopy of different patterns interlaced into a translucent ceiling allow for dispersed web-like shapes to bounce around every space like a million Tinkerbells.  Magical, light-infused and organic all come to mind when trying to describe what Nouvel himself refers to as "an archaeological field revived as a small city, a cluster of nearly one-room buildings places along a leisurely promenade…covered with a large dome, a form common to all civilizations."

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It is a whimsical micro-world beautifully reflected in the surrounding water oasis; the conceptual renderings are so dreamlike, one experiences them as though it is photography of an already-realized museum.  I can only imagine what the reality will be.  On a more factual-basis, the museum, 24,000 sq. meters in size, will rotate between 200-300 pieces of the most influential and priceless works of art over 10 years and 4 temporary exhibits per year for 15 years.  With the full support of France, French President Jacques Chirac says the agreement allows for the bridging of what the "world considers a clash of civilizations" between Islam and the West."  If the universal language of art can’t bring the globe together, what can?

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