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French Culture Minister Heads Delegation To UAE Capital To Seal Louvre Abu Dhabi Operating Framework
Jean Nouvel, Louvre Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI.-The French Culture Minister, Madame Christine Albanel, has made her first visit to the UAE capital to head up a delegation charged with delivering an operating framework agreement for the proposed Louvre Abu Dhabi universal museum.

The agreement covers a multitude of operational issues including individual proposals to theme the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s exhibition halls and guidelines for exhibitions to be mounted in the museum. It was signed in Abu Dhabi by His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH) and Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi’s leading cultural and tourism asset developer, and Bruno Maquart, former Director of Centre Pompidou and Executive Director of the French Museums Agency which is steering development of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of five major cultural assets planned for the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island, the 27 square kilometre island lying 500 metres offshore Abu Dhabi City, which is being transformed by TDIC into signature cultural and leisure destination.

Mdme Albanel headed up a top level French ministerial and media delegation to Abu Dhabi to seal the accord, which is part of an agreed management strategy for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which has been designed by award-winning French architect Jean Nouvel. The delegation also included Henri Loyrette, Chairman and Director of the Louvre and former director of the Musée d’Orsay who also chairs the Scientific Committee of the French Museums Agency.

“The accord covers our specific requirements to mount arts educational events in the UAE capital and provide a degree of training for nationals wishing to enter the sector for solid career opportunities,” said Sheikh Sultan. “Together with our French partners we are progressing well on the Louvre Abu Dhabi which will be among the first of Saadiyat’s international cultural institutions to take shape.”

Work on the Louvre Abu Dhabi is shortly to enter its design and engineering phase with the imminent appointment of an engineering consultant to work in collaboration with Jean Nouvel.

“Discussions with Sheikh Sultan and TDIC encompassed a myriad of topics covering the entire Louvre Abu Dhabi proposition,” said Mdme Albanel. “We are confident the project is well on track to becoming a major asset within the global cultural circuit and a significant force in establishing Abu Dhabi as an international cultural centre.”

Working closely with TDIC, the French Museums Agency is responsible for most aspects of planning for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, including the scientific and cultural programme, advising on the architecture, design advising on the museography and acquisitions strategy, handling loans, temporary exhibitions, management support as well as visitor development and services, training and educational programmation

Agency stakeholders comprise representatives of the Louvre, Musée du Quai Branly, Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Orsay, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Musée Guimet, Domaine National de Versailles, Domaine National de Chambord, Réunion de musees nationaux, Ecole du Louvre and the capital project organisation EP de maitrise d’ouvrage des travaux culturels.

Under its management support jurisdiction, the agency will supply expertise in the fields of restoration, curatorship, exhibition design and will provide the required training for the Museum Operating Body that will be in charge of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. A dedicated training action plan for UAE nationals is to be rolled out within the next year with training sessions being held in France and Abu Dhabi.

Planning for the Louvre Abu Dhabi follows a 30-year cultural accord sealed last year between the governments of Abu Dhabi and the Republic of France.

Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District will house the largest single cluster of world-class cultural assets. In addition to the Louvre Abu Dhabi these will include: the Sheikh Zayed National Museum to be designed by the UK’s Foster + Partners under the direction of Lord Norman Foster; the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi contemporary arts museum – the world’s largest Guggenheim and the only one in the Middle East, which has been conceptualised by Frank Gehry; a performing arts centre designed by Zaha Hadid, a maritime museum with concept design by Tadao Ando and a number of arts pavilions.

Concept designs for all the Cultural District assets are currently on show in an exhibition which is open daily to the public in the UAE capital’s Emirates Palace Hotel.

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