At the inauguration of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which secured him the honours, the architect Jean Nouvel, saying no word about his museum project in Doha. No question of the shade at the Louvre of the Sands, which has just celebrated its first anniversary with more than a million visitors. Between the two countries in the Gulf, the competition is fierce to have the most beautiful museum in the world, emblem of the omnipotence of a State. And one of Qatar promises to be equally grandiose by its experience in the architectural, spatial and sensory!

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stretching along the corniche around the historic palace of sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, the new museum, by Jean Nouvel, will make a lot of talk, with its discs of the color of the desert, interlocking and intersecting each other to form a giant pink sands. All of these drives with variable geometry and random, made of concrete Ductal®, are not only placed on the structure. They are the ones that constitute the building, outside and inside, on a surface of 40,000 square meters. The exhibition spaces are organized around a central courtyard, the “caravanserai”, to borrow the idea of the courtyard surrounded by buildings where we had just come past and drop the goods from the desert. In its contemporary version, it is used as a space for gathering for events or art performances of all kinds.

The shape of the pink sand is inspired by the culture qatari, fruit of the encounter between the sea and the desert. Iwan Baan

The shape of the pink sand is a response to the culture and climate of Qatar, the meeting point between the sea and the desert, with its fauna, its flora, its nomadic population and its long traditions. These are the first features of its history. The first economic miracle of Doha came in with the fishing for pearls and trade was born around this activity. After the Second world War, the exploitation of oil, then the gas industry has allowed this peninsula is desert, which had very few people to experience a dramatic evolution. It is as well as a land virtually empty has become a hub economically attractive.

Jean Nouvel, who has always advocated a contextual architecture, has taken into account, as for his museum in Abu Dhabi, all of the settings of historical, geographical, sociological and even climate of Qatar. “The building that I designed was to be echoed in two stories,” he says. The first, which covers a period long enough and monotonous enough, is the story of the desert and its inhabitants. The second is the dramatic acceleration that has given the united only a few years – the power and the prosperity that we know him for today. By its economic power, Qatar is also very advanced in terms of research. This is an aspect that I also had to consider in my project”.

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To reflect all of these dimensions, Jean Nouvel had to find a symbolic element. “This is the way that I thought of the pink sands, a kind of architecture in miniature emerging from the sand, consisting of crystals formed by the evaporation of the water under the action of the wind,” adds the latter. Take the form of this rock as a point of departure was an idea very progressive, not to say utopian. I speak of utopia because in order to build a building like this one, with its large discs curved, its intersections, its elements in door-to-fake – everything that makes a rose of the sands-we had to overcome a lot of technical challenges”. This building is therefore at the cutting edge of technology, such as Qatar. Such an achievement would have been impossible without computers and without engineers.

The course is organised in three sections and eleven galleries, which the museum has been designed by Jean Nouvel Iwan Baan

Jean Nouvel has never loved which is straight and vertical. Like his master Claude Parent disappeared in 2016, he has often opted for the oblique line. Many of the floors of his new museum are sloped. “You go below, you go up and you can see that the vertical is virtually non-existent,” explains the architect. By observing, you can find a few items that appear to be vertical but which in reality are not”.

With few windows never affected by the sun, the building should not use a lot of energy. The disks that make up the structure are heavy and form as a mattress protector when the sun is at its zenith. When it reaches the building from the East or the West, the disks that are projected under different angles to create shadows that are protective. A game of light different from that of the museum of Abu Dhabi with its kaleidoscope projecting on the floor and the walls.

collections – 700.000 to our days

As in many museums, the course is organized according to a loop. The visit will take approximately two hours and will end with the discovery of the former royal palace, which has been restored. Ranging from about 700,000 years to the present day, the collections embody “both the richness of the cultural heritage of Qatar but also its vision and aspirations for the future”, announces with pride the Qatar Museums. This new museum, of which the project was launched in 2005 and is the culmination of a galloping cultural development of the country, which already has a Museum of islamic art (MIA) and an arab Museum of modern art (Mathaf).

The disks that make up the structure form such as a mattress protector when the sun is at its zenith. Iwan Baan

The course is organized into three sections, composed of eleven galleries, including the museum was also designed by Jean Nouvel, as in Abu Dhabi or at the Quai Branly museum in Paris. The course begins with the origins, life in Qatar and the construction of the nation. Chronologically, it extends about 2.7 kilometers to put in value of works of art and objects, of the geological era earlier, the populating of the peninsula up to our days.

Among the commands, a work of Jean-Michel Othoniel

narratives from the oral tradition, but also archival images supplemented by music and scents evocative images create a sensory experience that is immersive to put it into context the whole of the archaeological remains and heritage objects, including the famous carpet of pearls, commissioned by the maharajah of Baroda in 1865 and adorned with over 1.5 million pearl of the Persian gulf. Among the works specially commissioned for the museum: a contemporary work of the French Jean-Michel Othoniel consists of 114 sculptures fountains distributed in the lagune which the jets are reminiscent of the fluid forms of Arabic calligraphy. It is a command important to this artist known for his installation in front of the Comédie Française in Paris and the one in the park of the château de Versailles, which has had a solo show at the new galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, last march in New York.