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Louvre Abu Dhabi

Workers and officials of the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) in front of the Louvre Abu Dhabi dome. Photo: HO/AFP/Getty Images.

Vincent Noce, Work on Louvre Abu Dhabi goes into overdrive, The Art Newspaper, 4 March 2015

On the lunar landscape that is Saadiyat Island, the shape of the Louvre Abu Dhabi is gradually emerging from the sand. On the gigantic shorefront site, work continues around the clock. The 5,000-strong workforce is expected to swell to 7,500 over the coming months. “We shall deliver the building at the end of 2015,” its architect Jean Nouvel tells The Art Newspaper. “Then a few months will be needed to set up the inner structures and hang the works,” he says. The museum’s official opening date, which has not yet been set, will be in 2016.

The building first has to meet the criteria of “excellence” shared by the architect, the Louvre and the emirate, meaning that the safety of the collections is ensured under extreme climatic conditions. Furthermore, the summer heat excludes a formal opening between May and September, when the temperature can rise well above 40°C. A date will also need to suit the agendas of the various heads of state expected to attend.

The development of the island’s museums, including the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum, is managed by the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC). The legal framework under which they will operate has not been established yet, but the post of director of the Louvre Abu Dhabi has already been proposed. The Paris museum’s managing director, Hervé Barbaret, 49, is a possible choice, according to a source close to the project.

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