Art lovers fly down for new Louvre opening
Visitors inside the Louvre Abu Dhabi after it was opened to the public on November 11. - KT photo by Ryan Lim
Abu Dhabi - Visitors have flown in from as far as Switzerland and Canada to see the new Louvre Abu Dhabi on the very first day
The Louvre Abu Dhabi has stirred the cultural curiosity of art lovers from around the world. Tourists have specially flown down to the UAE capital, to have a Louvre experience on November 11, Day 1 of the public opening.
Swiss couple Eric Kalbermatten and Ingrid Sordi came all the way from Geneva to Abu Dhabi for just one day - for the Louvre opening. "We arrived today from Geneva. We landed in Dubai and took a car and drove straight to Abu Dhabi to be here for the opening at 10am," said Kalbermatten, a financial administrator at a hospital in Lausanne. "We are staying only for a day, then we go to Ajman. We planned it like that," said Sordi.
On their first visit to the emirate, the couple said they have never been to a museum opening before. "We wanted to soak in the ambience, see the opening exhibitions and entertainment shows at the museum."
Their first impression of Louvre Abu Dhabi? "It is truly different. Because in Paris, it is an old building with a pyramid. It is not modern at all. The architecture of Louvre Abu Dhabi is very impressive. The museum is not too crowded like the Paris museum. We loved it," said Kalbermatten.
Sordi felt the galleries are a bit empty as "there is plenty of place to put more things."
"But this is a good beginning. It is very cold inside. We were jet-lagged and tired. So, we decided to take a lunch break and continue again."
Waxing eloquent on the 'rain of light' effect of the museum's latticed dome, the couple said there is no words to describe it. "It is just wow!"
Canadian friends Bronwyn Lang and Mary Spec - from Vancouver - are travel buddies who have explored the world quite a bit. Louvre Abu Dhabi is the duo's latest adventure in their friendship that goes back four decades. They flew all the way from Canada to see the Louvre on the very first day it opened. "It is absolutely amazing. Better than we expected. We have been to museums in Paris, Russia, London, Canada. New York. We are quite old (laughs)," said Spec, whose daughter works in Abu Dhabi.
"We took a tour of the galleries for 45 minutes. Now we are going to do it again at our own pace," she added.
Lang said she was blown away by the architectural marvel. "With Jean Nouvel making the museum. It is fabulous. What is inside is even better. The way it has played out all the cultures in a time frame, is just beautiful. It is a wonderful, modern idea.
"Nouvel wanted to combine the elements of light and water.. and he got it just right. When you walk through, you feel the temperature is perfect with the breeze coming from the sea, because there is no air-conditioning. Then there are birds singing."
"I would recommend the museum visit to everybody. Everybody recognises the Louvre brand," said Spec.
Dr Mazem Mustafa has come from Palestine to visit the Arab world's first universal museum. A professor of Cultural Studies at Birzeit University, Mustafa has given his verdict on the Abu Dhabi Louvre. "I am very pleased. There is nothing like this in the whole Arab world.
"The architecture, the design, lights, the size, the height of the ceiling - all the minute aspects have been well designed. What strikes me the most is that they taken the design shortcomings of European museums and eliminated those issues here."
Mustafa said the Louvre Abu Dhabi, that tells the story of civilisation is, a timely cultural gift to the young generation that sees the world through social media. "To visit a museum and see it with naked eyes will be a new experience for the new generation."