The Louvre Abu Dhabi & the “Rain of (de)Light”

I am giddy with excitement about The Louvre Abu Dhabi.  Truth be told, when I first moved to Dubai I worried that I would be starved for art (other than architecture).  To my delighted surprise, I discovered Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz and the many art galleries in the Dubai Int’l Financial District (DIFC).   Not to mention the stunning and clever outdoor art in City Walk, La Mer, Kite Beach, d3 Design District, etc.  Dubai has more art than I imagined.  We were missing a major art museum, but art is everywhere.

And THEN – voila, the Louvre Abu Dhabi opens.  Less than an hour and a half away, a major world class art museum.  And it is truly AMAZING.  It starts with the building, which is a work of art itself.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi was designed by acclaimed French architect Jean Nouvel, winner of the Pritzker Prize. The museum’s galleries and buildings echo a traditional Arabic town or medina, covered by the massive 180 metre wide dome which filters light to create a micro-climate and whose design was inspired by both mashrabiya carved window screens and the shadows cast by fronds of date palms at Al Ain oasis.  (from

Architect Nouvel calls the effect of the light filtering through the dome “the rain of light”.  I call it “the rain of DElight”, for truly it is.  The light changes with every passing hour, more intriguing as the shadows cast in different ways as the sun moves.  I am sure at night it is also a sight, although I have not had the pleasure yet of being there after sundown.  Whenever you can go, GO.  It’s a rain of DElight in the desert that you cannot miss.


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