A simulated journey through Jean Nouvel’s forthcoming Louvre Abu Dhabi was one of the main features of the emirate’s Cityscape.
It takes the form of a darkened interior with light shining down simulating the way the roof will allow in sunlight.
A film is then projected onto the wall showing some of the exhibits likely to be displayed.
The project is nearing completion and will form part of the cultural district of Saadiuyat Island, which also includes Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum and the Zayed National Museum designed by Lord Norman Foster.
Nouvel said of his project: “I wanted this building to mirror a protected territory that belongs to the Arab world and this geography.”
Two thirds of the museum is covered by a white dome of 180m in diameter, which is an emblematic feature of Arabian architecture, evoking mosque, mausoleum and madrasa.
The dome’s seemingly random but carefully designed arrangement of geometric openings was inspired by the interlaced palm leaves traditionally used as roofing material. The apertures will make it possible to control the light and temperature inside. The interior will be illuminated by a shifting “rain of light”, reminiscent of mashrabiya and the beams of light that illuminate souks.
Extending out over the water, the dome’s reflection will cast a shimmering light on the underside of the building illustrating the importance of water in Islamic architecture.
Nouvel said: “A microclimate is created by drawing on sensations that have been explored countless times in great Arab architecture, which is based on the mastery of light and geometry a structure made up of shadows, of movement and discovery.
“Architecture is about harnessing the will, desire and skills of a handful of people in order to modify a place at a given point in time. Architecture is never something you create alone. You always create it somewhere in particular, at the request of one person or several people, but always for everyone to enjoy.”