Appointment of Frenchman Manuel Rabate, veteran of prestigious cultural institutions, as first director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, and Emirati Hissa Al Dhaheri as his deputy, paves the way for its highly anticipated opening next year.
In the same office on the 13th floor of the headquarters of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), two new desks sit at right angles to each other.
Neither takes advantage of the view of the Arabian Gulf that is on offer, but the new name plate each bears, rendered in the same monochrome livery of the yet-to-be opened Louvre Abu Dhabi, delivers a message that is guaranteed to generate headlines and to cause a stir in major museums and galleries around the world.
The other name plate belongs to his deputy, Hissa Al Dhaheri, a 32-year-old Emirati who will assist Mr Rabate in delivering Abu Dhabi’s Louvre, a project that has been the subject of unprecedented levels of anticipation and scrutiny.
The product of an inter-governmental agreement between Abu Dhabi and France that was signed in 2007, the Louvre Abu Dhabi was originally meant to open in 2012.
Substantive works on the other institutions planned for the wider Saadiyat Cultural District – the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, designed by Frank Gehry, and Zayed National Museum – have yet to begin. More info