Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A New Islamic Wing Opens at Paris’ Louvre

In September 2012, the Paris Louvre unveiled its new wing and galleries dedicated to the arts of Islam, which allows the museum to properly display its huge collection of Islamic Art. To house the new wing, architects Mario Bellini and Rudy Ricciotti created an entirely new glass structure in the Visconti courtyard of the Louvre located near the Denon wing. This is the largest expansion project in the Louvre since the creation of the famous glass pyramid twenty years ago.

In order to find the right balance between the 17th-century facades of the Louvre and a contemporary structure that pays hommage and evokes Islamic art, the architects have designed an undulating glass roof to shelter the galleries. Layered with gold and silver hued wire mesh diffused natural light will flood into the exhibition spaces. The mesh serves a dual purpose. It fist shades the object d’art contained within as well as evoke the image of a sand-dune or as Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the projects main funder, “a magic flying carpet”

The Louvre has a total of over 18,000 works of Islamic art in their collection; this new space will thus allow the museum to put much more of their collection on display. The first floor of the new wing will show works from the 7 – 11th centuries, and the second floor will feature works from the 11 – 18th century, notably their celebrated collection of textile works which include fabrics, rugs and carpets.

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