In Paris, Islamic Art Under a Flying Carpet


The Louvre drew a fusillade of criticism nearly 25 years ago when it unveiled a glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei. This year, France’s most famous museum is preparing for the opening of a new glass, steel and concrete structure that could be just as controversial.

In September, the museum will unveil a $130 million project to house its collection of some of the world’s finest Islamic art, including tapestries, statues and porcelain. But many visitors will doubtless be coming for the building, mixing 17th-century architecture with modern technology including a glass ceiling in the shape of a flying carpet.

The architects opted for a low glass wave with gold and silver wire netting to shade the exhibition area and hide the steel ceiling structure. From the windows of adjacent galleries displaying Renaissance paintings, one can already see the “magic flying carpet” as Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who helped finance the project, called it. Mr. Ricciotti says it looks more like a sand dune from above.




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