Rising from the sands on partly reclaimed land and jutting into the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi's cultural masterpiece is in the making.
Born out of an agreement between the UAE and France, Louvre Abu Dhabi, when complete by year end the 260,000 square foot ‘universal' museum will offer a global vision of the history of world art, one that will inevitably evolve over time.
Designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be part of the Saadiyat Cultural District which will also house the world's largest Guggenheim Museum and the Zayed National Museum.
"It is going to be incredible – three major museums within walking distance," Stuart Keane, Senior Owners Representative Delivery at the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), told XPRESS.
The world's first museum to get its name from the 18th century Parisian complex, Louvre Abu Dhabi is, however, more than a doppelganger of the French museum.
"It is very Arabic in its design and concept. The structure resembles a cluster of small buildings that simulates an Arabian village," said Keane.
Louvre Abu Dhabi has a built up area of approximately 87,000 square metres, with 9,200 square metres of galleries. The dome and galleries will float above the water while house services such as the kitchen will remain two floors beneath the water level.
Around 6,000 square metres will be devoted to permanent displays, while 2,000 square metres will be reserved for temporary exhibitions. The museum will also have a children's gallery, cafe and restaurant.
Keane said every bit of the design including the walls, roofs, windows, lighting, and painting, is tested at a mock up site built a few metres from the museum.
"We are armed with centuries of knowledge drawn from what did and what did not work in the first Louvre," said Keane, who's stated aim is to "make the Louvre Abu Dhabi a world class masterpiece with no rivals."