The Louvre is opening a Middle East outpost in Abu Dhabi - and the building looks amazing

The museum has been in the pipeline for 11 years

Alexandra Ma
Business Insider
Thursday 07 September 2017 13:41
Louvre Abu Dhabi's exterior
Louvre Abu Dhabi's exterior

The Louvre Museum's Abu Dhabi outpost will officially open this November, almost 11 years after French and United Arab Emirates signed a deal to build it.

The site will have 700 exhibits, loaned by the main Louvre in Paris and other French museums according to UAE newspaper The National.

Abu Dhabi paid France $525 million (£402 million) to use the Louvre name, and another $750 million (£575 million) to hire managers from France to look after the art, the Associated Press reported. It is the Louvre's first branch outside of France.

Like its sister museums, Louvre Abu Dhabi's building is a work of art. Take a look at some photos and videos:

It's located in Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island, which overlooks the Persian Gulf.

The museum opening was delayed by economic turmoil in the UAE due to falling oil prices, and the project was criticised for its use of low-paid migrant workers, the AP said.

Here's the building in its full glory, taken against the Abu Dhabi skyline.

The building boasts a 180-metre dome consisting of some 8,000 metal pieces, Louvre Abu Dhabi said.

Louvre Abu Dhabi's exterior

The building's domed ceiling was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, who said the dome was a “major symbol of Arab architecture,” according to architecture news site Arch Daily.

The gaps in the dome allow beams of light to shine through during the day. Here's what it looks like under the dome.

“When sunlight filters through, it creates a moving 'rain of light' beneath the dome, reminiscent of the overlapping palm trees in the UAE's oases,” Louvre Abu Dhabi wrote in a press statement.

They almost look like stars.

(Mohamed Somji/Louvre Abu Dhabi

“At night, this protected landscape is an oasis of light under a starry dome,” Nouvel said, according to Arch Daily.

Here's a video of the building's interior, in black and white:


And here's what it looks like at night:

(Mohamed Somji/Louvre Abu Dhabi

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