Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life (2011) by Yayoi Kusama 

A walkway with water on either side leads visitors through a darkened space aglow with hundreds of twinkling lights dangling from the ceiling. Reflections in the mirrored walls and water give visitors the feeling of floating through space.

@Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s Seeing Through Light exhibition//Abu Dhabi’s Manarat Al Saadiyat gallery on Saadiyat Island

Louvre Abu Dhabi (information-gathering)

“Museums traditionally display objects and artworks belonging to an artistic civilisation, historical period or art movement in one room. While giving us a taste of what a particular culture may have been like, this approach can give the impression of hermetically sealed cultures developing with no outside influence, no exchange or trade of ideas, knowledge, trends or stories. The Louvre Abu Dhabi will be different. Its unique museographic approach - displaying objects and art chronologically - will explore connections between seemingly disparate civilisations and cultures around the world. This is what will make the museum truly universal, transcending geography and nationality. The universal approach suits Abu Dhabi well, reflecting the city’s position at the crossroads of east and west, and its ancient and vital role in the days of the Silk Route.”

“The Louvre Abu Dhabi will express the universalism of its time, that of a globalized and interdependent world. Its duty will also be to translate exactingly and instructively the spirit of openness and dialogue demonstrated by a young Arab nation. Abu Dhabi is a multicultural city between Asia and the West where North-South relations are condensed, and where cosmopolitanism is a fact of life. ”

“The ‘museum city’ of Louvre Abu Dhabi will be housed in a building designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Jean Nouvel. Ever aware of context, Nouvel has a falaj-inspired water system running through the museum, inspired by ancient Arabian engineering. Louvre Abu Dhabi’s geometric lace dome was inspired by the interlaced palm leaves traditionally used as roofing material and resulting in an enchanting rain of light. The roof’s complex pattern is the result of the same geometric design repeated at various sizes and angles in ten different layers, five external and five internal. While it looks delicate and lacy, the dome is actually very heavy and the size of five football pitches.”

“With a built up area of 64,000 square metres, Louvre Abu Dhabi is conceived as a complex of pavilions, plazas, alleyways and canals, evoking the image of a city floating on the sea. Hovering over the complex will be a form inspired by traditional Arabic architecture: a vast, shallow dome - some 180 metres in diameter - perforated with interlaced patterns so that a magical, diffused light will filter through.”

“When speaking about Emirati identity, we have to look back at the roots of our identity and realize that the Emirates is a crossroads of trade and cultural exchange,” Ms. Dhaheri said. “This is the concept that the museum is going to embody and emphasize, this exchange and universality, expressed through art.”

“That is how the dome cross-fertilises free inspiration from the mashrabiya, one of the components handed down by tradition that has steeped eastern decorative arts as much as provided traditional air-conditioning systems. A seemingly random but carefully designed sequence of geometric holes lets light in and tempers the museums halls and areas while shading visitor paths to control the temperature without blocking out natural light. The "rain of light” from the dome is reminiscent of the trellises casting their shadows on walls, canopies and reeds, sprinkling light across city alleys and souks, and of the leaves that sprinkle sunlight under palm groves. This scattered shade is moving and tactile, and opens up the building to “toying with the random to provide as much light as each area needs.” In the same way, the area mirroring the water at the dome entrance shimmers light across the buildings’ “skin”. This constantly wavering presence reflects the prominent role that water surfaces play in Arab architecture. At night, on the contrary, this site will be “an oasis of light under a spangled dome." 

"I wanted this building to mirror a protected territory that belongs to the Arab world and this geography.” Jean Nouvel outlined the Louvre Abu Dhabi universal museum’s personality by seeking inspiration in the place and setting, the history of geometry and the fundamentals of Middle-Eastern architecture: “a microclimate emerged from the sensations that great Arab architecture has explored countess times: controlling light and geometry (…) structuring shadows, opening up trails to discovery. It is a city on a peninsula jutting out onto the lagoon using the shadows on the water to create a microclimate with the wind blowing under the dome.”

“A fine arts museum, described by its creator, Jean Nouvel, as an ‘island on an island’. Within the vast ‘floating’ dome of the Louvre Abu Dhabi is a whole new world, where rain of light patterns illuminate a micro-city of small galleries, lakes and landscaping.”

“Jean Nouvel who invents a museum-city, a city-world through a variation on the forms of Arab architecture, the universalism of the Louvre Abu Dhabi must give rise to a genuine cultural mix. In this respect, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will demonstrate its universality first and foremost by its collections. The geographical, historical and cultural reality of Abu Dhabi is that of a bridge between the East and West, understood in their broadest sense, to which the United Arab Emirates’s request to France has given an added dimension with strong symbolism…nurtured by the museum and cultural values symbolized by the Louvre name, the Louvre Abu Dhabi project thus places the museum’s primary missions—to preserve, develop, exhibit and explain—at the heart of its creation.”