In their initiative to design the first universal museum in this region of the world, the United Arab Emirates authorities’ have chosen The Louvre Abu Dhabi project to stand in great recognition of the museum’s skill in exhibition design and its scientific expertise. By accepting this challenge, the Louvre extends its influence in a rapidly growing area, at the crossroads of Africa and Asia. The project is the result of an intergovernmental agreement between the UAE and France, signed in 2007. It loans the name of the Louvre for 30 years and six months, artworks from 13 French institutions for a decade, and temporary exhibitions for the next 15 years. The deal, which also includes a provision for French managers to oversee the loaned artwork, is said to have cost about $1.27 billion (Dh4.66 billion).
The building, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, will span 258,300 square feet (24,000 m²). It will include over 64,000 square feet (6,000 m²) of galleries housing the permanent collections and almost 22,000 square feet (2,000 m²) devoted to temporary exhibitions. Teams from France and the UAE have stepped up their efforts to allow the museum to open on December 2, 2015. It is a huge task. Work is needed to build up the collections, to plan loans of artworks from the French collections, and to create the museum’s managerial framework.
The Louvre is increasingly a major player on the cultural diplomacy front, with this international outreach finding expression in exhibitions: in Europe, but also in the United States, Japan, Saudi Arabia, China, Korea, Australia, Singapore, Oman, and Canada. “We seek peace-loving communities, built on coexistence and tolerance. We aspire for a better life for all, based on love and respect. The Louvre Abu Dhabi sends a positive message to the world that we are capable of giving hope to this region despite wars and conflicts,” His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said on Twitter. Shaikh Mohammad’s comments came after the Louvre Abu Dhabi opening night at Saadiyat Island.