Louvre Abu Dhabi’s ‘rain of light’ © Louvre Abu Dhabi. Picture: MOHAMED SOMJI
Louvre Abu Dhabi’s ‘rain of light’ © Louvre Abu Dhabi. Picture: MOHAMED SOMJI

On the route to the Louvre Abu Dhabi is Ferrari World, the Formula 1 Circuit and Warner Bros Theme Park. Architecture superstar Jean Nouvel’s building seems to float into the sea with its “rain of light” created by a complex geometric pattern of stars.

The building is almost blindingly white against the blue seas and skies of Abu Dhabi, and it is impossible to grasp its full scale on  arrival. The design is immediately apparent but the full impact comes much later — like a gift that reveals itself — until finally it takes your breath away.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi celebrates its one-year anniversary in November. Nouvel has placed windows in the galleries which all differ architecturally and show different aspects and angles of the museum — almost like landscape art in constant motion.

It isn’t until you walk into the domed courtyard with its outlets onto the sea offering a spectacular play of light, that the richness of the reward hits you. Nothing else matters, not even the heat concentrated under the dome.

The majestic building is a fitting home for the collection of art inside the rooms and galleries. Western, Arabic and Asian art fashioned by masters deliver a powerful punch.

Louvre Abu Dhabi has announced a full season of programming for 2018-2019 under the theme “World of Exchanges”. International exhibitions including Japanese Connections: The Birth of Modern Décor (until November 24) explore links between Japanese aesthetics and modern French decorative arts.

The acclaimed touring exhibition Roads of Arabia (until February 16) explores the archaeological and cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Peninsula. 

This will be followed by Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age: The Leiden Collection and the musée du Louvre (February 14– May 14) presenting 17th century masterpieces by Rembrandt and other artists of his time.

Opening the Album of the World (April 25–July 30) in collaboration with Musée du quai Branly will trace early photographic methods from around the globe.

The Children’s Museum at Louvre Abu Dhabi has opened its second exhibition, which looks at real and imaginary animals throughout art history.

There are plans to expand the galleries to include a Guggenheim and more.