Abu Dhabi's own Louvre Museum (opening Nov.11) has forgone its Parisian namesakes's famed pyramid for a dome inspired by mosque-crowning cupolas. Architect Jean Nouvel also mimicked the island's palm-tree leaves by building the structure from eight perforated layers, making 7,850 starry openings - a "parasol creating a shower of lights" that protects people (and art) from the desert sun. But while the design is regional and the name is rented (on a 30-year contract), director Manuel Rabaté said he wants this Louvre to be the "World's first universal museum." The exhibits will encompass works from across the world and eschew the norm of grouping art by region. Instead, they'll be organized by chronology and aesthetics to "stress our common values."
Author: Julia Zorthian