Abu Dhabi, UAE
by Jean Nouvel
Louvre Abu Dhabi, UAE
Designed by France’s Pritzker prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel
Fribel Gulf proudly presents its involvement in this prestigious and artistic architectural landmark, the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi’s debut took place on November 8th 2017, after a decade of careful and artistic work on all levels. In 2007, France and UAE agreed to a 30 year partnership for which UAE paid at least half a billion dollars for the right to the Louvre brand alone. It has been speculated that the total contract value to be worth $23.5 billion USD. However, the total construction costs remain a secret.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first universal museum in the Arab world. It is considered “the most ambitious cultural project of the early 21st century” by the president of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez. The main focus of this project is on world history and religion, opening up our understanding of diversity in a multipolar world.
Fribel Gulf was awarded the contract to install the white Epoxy Resin “Terrazzo” floors, cast on site at the museum’s lobby entrance.
The lobby’s bright white terrazzo floors is a graphic puzzle that stretches across the floor to the walls. In addition, the floors bear an outline of the UAE coastline. Along the map’s shorelines are the names of ports and the names of the towns around the world that manufactured the museum’s hundreds of objects on exhibition, listed as if hand written on old parchment.
Each name is spelled out in its own language — 26 languages in total, including Greek, Spanish, German, Chinese, Russian and Arabic. There is even one written in Hebrew for Qa al-Yahud, the old Jewish quarter in Sana’a, Yemen, where the LAD’s medieval Torah was made. To execute the lettering and assure accuracy, we worked with a linguist and a calligrapher as part of our high standard quality control measure.
The hand-polished floors, filled with intricate artistic detail, showcases the mosaic pieces designed by Jean Nouvel’s studio and represents design simplicity. The journey to the final outcome was less than simple, but a worthwhile endeavor resulting in a permanent artistic collection that we like to call “a walk of art.”
The execution of this project was demanding and complex. Starting with white terrazzo matrix, patterns were drawn using zinc and bronze strips and marble mosaics pieces, on which resin was subsequently cast.
It would seem as if the detail was engraved directly over the floor, but it is actually integrated with the bronze planks which are cut with high-pressure water jet, affixed to the ground. To ensure the perspective and accuracy of the original visual design, the numerous bronze strips were preserved from both the horizontal plane to the vertical plane.
To complete the compass, we used soda lite marble, specified by Jean Nouvel himself, for its unique shade of blue andveins of light colors. The floors were finished by casting white resin, then polished, a process which includes hand-sanding and hand-polishing, particularly close to the zinc and brass strips. We used experts for each task, every step of the way.
This is a representation of the quality of terrazzo epoxy work Fribel offers. Extremely high quality requirements and standards were met in the creation of the floor, with unbelievable attention to detail.