Department of Islamic Arts - Louvre Museum

 Mario Bellini Architects & Rudy Ricciotti / Paris, France


The Louvre inaugurates a new architecture

“a lombard in Paris”
Twenty-three years since the inauguration of the pyramid designed by Ieoh Ming Pei, the Louvre inaugurates its second and latest piece of contemporary architecture: the new Department of Islamic Arts built in the Cour Visconti to the design by Milanese architect Mario Bellini and his French colleague Rudy Ricciotti. Seven years of work (the international competition was adjudicated in 2005), three years of construction works, 6,800 square metres of new space for the Parisian gallery of which 3,800 dedicated to exhibition and destined to house the prestigious collection of Islamic Arts, up to now exhibited in small, inadequate rooms.  
The new architecture – inaugurated on the 18th of September in the presence of the French president François Hollande – is not a building in the traditional sense of the word, nor is it a mere ‘cover’ for the courtyard. “It’s more like an enormous veil that undulates as if suspended in the wind, almost touching the ground of the courtyard at one point, but without totally encumbering it or contaminating the historic facades” explains Mario Bellini, who also designed the exhibition installation with Renaud Pierard. The new Department – developed over two floors with access from the pyramid, and occasionally from the Seine through the Cour Visconti itself – it’s open to the public from the 22nd of September.