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External Shading Systems

Experience light as art at the Museum Louvre in Abu Dhabi



A place where the sun’s rays become art, and daylight an element in architecture: the Museum Louvre in Abu Dhabi is like no other building in the world. Architect and Pritzker award winner Jean Nouvel of Jean Nouvel Ateliers in Paris decided at the outset that the building itself would be an independent work of art. For the various trades, this meant they would require special solutions rather than standard equipment. In order to create a pleasant light ambience inside despite the harsh desert sun, and to protect the delicate works of art from its aggressive rays, the sun shading expert Warema developed and produced various unique sun shading solutions with proven smart technology.

On the island of Abu Dhabi City, the Museum Louvre rises up like a separate city beside the sea. The 55 linked buildings create the impression of an Arabian settlement that is crowned by a striking dome 180 metres in diameter. There are 26 galleries inside the buildings, which are grouped together in blocks. Each individual group is dedicated to a specific art movement. On leaving the building, visitors find themselves in courtyards and passages or on outside staircases that lead to the water.

A changing “Rain of light”

The central plaza that is protected by the apparently woven dome is the heart of the construction, since this is where visitors experience the dynamic “Rain of light” effect of the seemingly weightless dome. A total of eight layers of perforated stainless steel and aluminium are stacked, offset from each other and in various formats, to create an exceptionally clever pattern. Nouvel was inspired by palm trees, and the way sunlight filters through them to create an ever-changing pattern. His unique dome creates light spots on the ground, the white exterior walls and the water. They change constantly over the course of the day, as the sun changes position. If the humidity is high or there are more dust particles in the air, the bundled light rays actually become visible to the human eye.

Unique sun protection to design light

Warema uses the same lightness and perfection in its professional sun shading systems as Jean Nouvel does for his light production. It is part of the overall work of art, and is used as a lighting design, to protect the works of art, as heat and glare protection, and to provide visual privacy. A total of 216 sets of the conservatory awning W10 with secudrive® guides and controlled by around 140 LONMSE 4M230I REG actuators and 680 internal bracket construction project roller blinds have been used. Thanks to the intensive collaboration between Warema and Jean Nouvel at every stage in the development of the project, and with a high level of expert consultation, the company was able to comply with the star architect’s exacting standards. Warema’s experts contributed their expertise from the first basic concept and detail planning through to the sampling in Paris and on an originally-sized project in Abu Dhabi. The company’s technical and aesthetic solutions were confirmed by the project’s design team and then carried out. Not least because the special solution not only fulfilled all the requirements

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, but was equally convincing economically.

One challenge was to correspond with the filigree appeal of the architecture. The under-glass awnings and roller blinds also had to satisfy the requirements for a museum. To do so, they were manufactured in triple layers. Depending on the way the light falls, daylight is filtered through one or two layers of fabric. The third layer of fabric is blackout and is used, for instance, for photographic exhibitions, at night, or as thermal protection. In order to avoid impairing the delicate appearance of the architecture with the three-fold technical systems in the vertical, it was essential to calculate the slots for the guide rails and cable guidance in the glass fibre reinforced concrete wall with absolute precision. The secudrive® systems in the horizontal, which are extremely flat and stretch the fabric perfectly, fit precisely in the architectural concept. The technology disappears behind the covering of the light well. When extended, only the fabric of the system is visible; the front rail and the fabric move in and out through tiny slits.

Smart technology for perfect results

An automated control orchestrates the movement of the layers and curtains at specific times and according to the brightness. Furthermore, an extensive visualisation facilitates the precise manual control of the sunlight by PC and tablets. Warema gave museum staff intensive training in the operation of the technical system so they would also be able to adjust the parameters for temporary exhibitions if required.

Where the sun’s rays become art and light a part of the architecture, exceptional sun shading solutions are required that fulfil the very highest requirements. At the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, Warema demonstrates most successfully just what can be achieved with close co-operation between architects and sun shading experts.

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