Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island will be the epicentre of the State’s contemporary art culture. Situated near Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara, Saadiyat Island will host a collection of art galleries that are themselves, modern architectural masterpieces. Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first of three museums located on Saadiyat Island, will resemble the grandeur of its Parisian counterpart, the famous Louvre Museum in France. Born of an intergovernmental agreement between UAE and France, once complete, Louvre Abu Dhabi will be the first universal museum in the Middle East.

Similar to the architecture of Sir Bani Yas Hotel, Louvre Abu Dhabi incorporates Islamic influences into its modern design. From afar, the Museum appears to float in a vast lake with its centrepiece being a large dome-like structure measuring 180 metres in diameter, an inspiration drawn from the domes found in mosques. The dome’s surface replicates interlaced palm leaves used as roofing material while the filtered light will reflect on the Museum’s interior walls from the collection of falaj-inspired pools found beneath the dome. Once complete, the $630 million project will have gallery space of 64,000 square-metres to house the Museum’s permanent art collection and temporary exhibitions.

Opening in December 2015, Louvre Abu Dhabi’s initial art collection will include 300 artworks borrowed from 13 distinguished Art Museums in France including the prestigious Louvre Museum in Paris, Museè d’Orsay and Centre Pompidou. Among the borrowed artwork is Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Portrait of an Unknown Woman’, Claude Monet’s ‘The Saint-Lazare Station’ and Edouard Manet’s ‘The Fife Player’ alongside artwork from Vincent van Gogh, Jacques-Louis David, Auguste Rodin, Andy Warhol and Henri Matisse. The borrowed artwork will remain in Louvre Abu Dhabi for two years before it recedes to make room for the Museum’s growing permanent collection. A universal museum, its exhibits will be displayed chronologically to showcase the interconnectedness of all global civilisations dating from the medieval period to the contemporary era. The historical context of the borrowed antiquities from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Asia and a Jewish Tora from Yemen will be told through textual and multimedia facilities.

Nigel Walters is a travel writer, who writes under the pen name, Fritzjames Stephen. His content is based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life.