GLOSS Issue 5 ( Jan / Feb 2018 ) - Page 76

S P O T L I G H T An Architectural Feat The one-of-a-kind artistic experience does not just start inside the walls of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. No, the museum itself is a work of art. Nestled on Saadiyat Island›s cultural district, the significance of the geometric shapes carved into the dome of the establishment can be easily traced back to their inspiration - the heritage of the country. The man behind the mission, award-winning Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, checked all the boxes when it came to creating the balanced design that the heads behind the Louvre Abu Dhabi were searching for. It is stunning enough to rival the skyscrapers on the horizon, is culturally relevant, and in spite of being an amalgam of open and enclosed spaces, it creates the perfect environment to house priceless artworks in. Nouvel accomplished this by harnessing the elements – namely water and light – to create a microclimate within the museum using the buildings’ light colours, for example, to reflect light thus keeping the interiors cool. The Frenchman - known for his work with cultural institutions such as the Arab World Institute, the Fondation Cartier, and the Culture and Congress Centre - imagined a ‹museum city›, sitting on its own island, topped by a huge dome under which 55 white, rectangular buildings lie, representing a Middle Eastern madina. The dome is its protection like palm fronds are in an oasis, creating a respite from the desert heat. The minimalistic feel of the museum gives even more presence to the crowning structure of the building, the steel-rendered dome which sits on four permanent piers hidden among the museum›s other buildings, imbuing it with a floating feel. The best bit about the dome, though, is its complex eight-layered geometric structure which allows sunlight to seep through, casting ever-changing patterns on the museum›s floor - dubbed the Rain of Light - as the sun makes it circle through the day. It features 7,850 complex star-shaped elements and has a circumference of 565m, weighing nearly as much as the Eiffel Tower.    “Louvre Abu Dhabi sets a benchmark for the region, attracting the next generation of talented museum professionals. It has reinvented the 18th-century premise of the universal museum for a demanding contemporary audience,» said the Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi. «In a complex multi-narrative world, these ideas are more important than ever. By exhibiting works from