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Brief Published: 11 Jan 2012

Golden Cloud at the Louvre


Legendary Parisian art museum the Louvre is almost as famous for the glass pyramids within its courtyard as the artworks within its walls. That may be set to change this year, however, as an undulating ‘golden cloud’-like structure –designed to showcase the museum’s new Islamic art collection – takes shape.

Made from glass and steel, the new building, designed by French architect Rudi Ricciotti and Italian architect Mario Bellini, is due to open in September 2012.

The airy 4,600 sq m space, which will hold approximately 18,000 pieces of art, will be filled with light pouring through 2,000 semi-transparent bronze and gold triangles – a nod to the latticework found in traditional Islamic architecture.

Thirty per cent of the €98.5 million (£81.3 million) project is being funded by the French state, while the Louvre itself and a number of Arabic nations and private donations are picking up the rest of the bill. Investors are reputed to include Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, the Emir of Kuwait and the Sultan of Oman.

The structure is expected to cause almost as much controversy as Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei’s pyramid, built 20 years ago.


Rudi Riccioti

Mario Bellini