a large white building with domes and towers

It’s hard to think of a more beautiful human accomplishment than art. Each unique work moving viewers in different ways, creating inspiration, amusement and sometimes… just complete puzzlement. For centuries, Paris, Rome, Tokyo and New York have held the proverbial crown as the art capitals of the world, but Abu Dhabi is about to make a serious run at the title…

a building with a large structure on a small islandThe Louvre, the Guggenheim: two art galleries you’ve heard of, two you may not have guessed will soon be in Abu Dhabi. Even before opening its doors, those in the know are already hailing the Louvre Abu Dhabi as one of the most stunning new buildings found anywhere in the world. But it’s not the only one, and these are far from the only art museums in Abu Dhabi. They’re not just licensing names either: Monet, Manet, Matisse and Da Vinci works will feature in the museums, just to name a few.

a building with a dome on the waterThese heavyweights of the art world join N2N, The Ghaf, Etihad Modern Art, Salwa Zeidan, Gallery One, the Abu Dhabi Art Hub and countless others in the already blossoming Abu Dhabi art scene. The new comers however are far from just galleries- they are architectural destinations.

a large white building with domes and Sheikh Zayed MosqueThe Louvre- designed by Pritzer award winning architect Jean Nouvel, is designed to look like a “floating dome”, with natural light throughout, flowing through “eight carefully designed prisms”. The Guggenheim on the other hand- is a completely different take, designed by Frank Gehry, based on a deconstructed style where classic middle eastern covered courtyards and wind towers meet modern, brushed steel and industrial design. And no, those aren’t the only two new stunners on the map. The Zayed National Museum is also in the planned construction phase, which is built with incredible vertical interwoven spheres, meant to resemble a falcon’s wings.

Zayed National Museum with curved shapes and lightsCentered around Saadiyat Island, the museums will be interconnected by water taxi, creating an idyllic “museum hopping” environment. But when? The Louvre is scheduled to complete in late 2017, while construction on the Guggenheim and Zayed National Museum will continue for the next year at least. It may be a couple years away, but Abu Dhabi could truly become an art capital contender.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Yeah, exactly, what he said. Art’s significantly about self-expression, something that places like this really aren’t.

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