As tourism booms in Abu Dhabi, so does its offering of arts and culture; providing something for everybody. The tourism-cultural project of Saadiyat Island, 500 metres off the coast of Abu Dhabi and just a five-minute drive from downtown, is currently under development and expected to open in 2020.
The island, home to a mix of commercial, leisure and residential opportunities, is expected to swiftly become Abu Dhabi’s cultural hub, with Saadiyat Cultural District housing five different museums.To accompany the impressive infrastructure, there will be an expansive calendar of not-to-be-missed sporting, cultural and artistic events, offered to everybody from locals to guests from across the globe, securing Abu Dhabi’s place in the international culture scene. Here we take a look at five venues event planners can look forward to once the island is open for business.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Louvre Abu Dhabi was born from an agreement between the governments of Abu Dhabi and France, and will display a number of pieces of art, manuscripts, and objects of cultural and historical significance. The items on display in this new gallery and museum come from across the globe, and were selected especially to highlight the similarities of the human experience, no matter of geography, nationality, or history. The objects will uniquely be displayed in chronological order, enabling visitors to understand connections between periods they once thought were completely unrelated.
Manuel Rabaté was appointed Director of the Louvre in September 2016, with the company hoping to open its doors in 2017.
Zayed National Museum
The Zayed National Museum tells the story of the late Sheikh, Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, how he unified the Arab Emirates, and how this affected the region and its cultural connections with the rest of the world. The museum leads guests on a compelling and fascinating journey through the history of the nation, and the museum’s core gallery, Sheikh Zayed: Life and Times, tells the story of the father of the UAE.
Construction began in July 2016, with no completion date announced just yet.
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
A platform for contemporary art and culture, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will display some of the most important artistic achievements of modern times. With an unknown number of galleries sprawling across four floors, this ultra-modern museum will house 13,000 square metres of gallery space, a soaring glass atrium, an education centre, and a 350 seat theatre. The centre will offer a ‘wide-ranging educational and performing-arts programme’, hoping to attract the next generation of artistic and cultural leaders.
Construction is still being carried out on the Guggenheim structure, and is estimated to be completed in 2017.
Saadiyat Cultural District’s Performing Arts Centre
The multifunctional space of the Saadiyat Cultural District’s Performing Arts Centre houses concert halls and theatres with a combined seating capacity of 6,300 people. The minds behind the centre are confident that the space will attract world-renowned performers of music and drama from across the globe, leading to an influx of local and international guests.
The inaugural season of the arts centre exceeded all expectations, and the institute is now going into its second year.
Designed by Tadao Ando, the Maritime Museum will celebrate Abu Dhabi’s maritime heritage and the nation’s long-standing relationship with the ocean. Simple in appearance and with a ship-like interior, the museum will tell the story of vital role the Arabian Sea played in the history of this nation.
Many lives depended on the sea throughout the UAE’s history, from jobs like dhow-making and pearl-diving, to depending on the fish to survive. Not forgetting, of course, the location being the perfect crossroads for several trade routes.
The museum will have a ship-like interior, with ramps and floating decks guiding guests around the exhibition spaces, and an underground aquarium. It is not yet known when the building will be completed.