Dubai Opera by Jean Nouvel


Dubai Opera by Jean Nouvel

Here is another Gulf project by architect Jean Nouvel, this time his design for Dubai Opera in the United Arab Emirates.


We don't have any more information on the project although Nouvel's office sent a poetic statement from Nouvel to accompany the images:


Building future memories...

Dubai is building its opera.

The emblematic city of the explosion of the 21st century must build itself a new planetary icon.


But an opera is an opera:

An allusion to music, to rhythm... a reference to the rhythms of the past... an invitation to discovery... a mystery programmed.

We are here above the water, at the far end of the Creek. The visitor encounters an « inhabitant » who belongs to the spirit of the time, belongs to the time inscribed in the place. It acts as a witness, a guardian, a protector and, above all else, a vision across the city and its future.


Its scale is such that we can not confuse it with a vulgar hotel or an office building: it is proud, sure of its aura across the land.

It can not be decoded in a simplistic or univocal manner.

Its image changes with angles of view, with the lights, but it also belongs to the atmosphere, to the thickness of the air. It reveals the light. It impregnates its shadow in the water.

It evokes.
The rhythms.
The intensities.
The depths.
It evokes.
The music, the ascents and the descents.


It speaks of the symbols of the place: here, we are as likely to encounter the bird (the falcon that is the emblem of the Emirates, that flies and migrates, searching for refuge in nature nearby);

as the water (changing reflections linked to the mirrors of the Creek);

as the waves of the sea so close;

as the waterfall, the mist or the cloud.


We also encounter vegetation with its perforated patterns of light, the random succession and superposition of palm trees entangled with other essences as the levels progress;

as the music with its evocations of the curves of instruments, of the lines the score, of the keys of the clarinet or of the tuning note...

The signs superpose, become confused, link together to create other music, other rhythms impossible to imagine outside of these criss-crossed layers... It is a little like the clouds: each person can see what attracts them, what makes them question. The architect plays only the role of provocateur, claiming innocence.

Then, there is the light.


The lights of the dawn and the dusk. There are views into the light, reflections, the play of materials that capture, that imprint the colours of the sky on the skin of the building. Within the gleaming echos or fading away, the hours slip across the green of the trees, the colors often made vivid by the interiors and the lights of the life contained by the opera, multiple and varied lights linked to the ambiance of different places, of different hours-glowing, evidently, as soon as the night arrives.

Here is what guides an architect whose mission it is to provoke the unthinkable.

Here is what will be felt, like a spectacle to be discovered, like sensations to be searched out.


Afterwards, what remains is not the least: the interior.

The interiors. The successive discoveries. The impacts of the light and the shadows through the geometry, which is the essence of grand Arab architecture.

There is, seen from the interior, the discovery of the skylines of Dubai, the Dubais.

There is the memory of creations in a place that will welcome prestigious guests who, here, will create works that will make a tour of the earth.

There are encounters with music, with theatre, with the arts and their principal actors...

All this to link the imagination of Dubai to culture and its pleasures.


Posted on Tuesday May 1st 2007 at 10:30 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • It’s huge!

  • Amit Sisack

    I second lacakr: Its soooo huge, but not big enough for nouvel`s ego (do you remember cartier fundation…? so ethereal… it was so nice!) THE EGO HAS LANDED (borrowed from robbie williams)

  • Jor-El

    Live as one of them, Kal-El, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. Always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you… my only son.

  • General Zod

    Kneel before Zod!

  • ra.h.k.

    yes yes yes go for the organic how we need this in dubai alot tank you

  • imane

    nous pourrez-t-on pas avoir des images plus claire de l’opéra de Dubai ?

  • oujaz


  • Joseph B.

    This is a real monumental Edifice, hoping we will see clear photos illustrating the huge space for both interior and entrances.

  • marta

    Dubai, with those horrible monsters will be soon the most awfull, tasteless place on the world

  • klejdi

    Jean Nouvel is a famous architect…

    If a guy at my school did this, we’d all say “Girlish bullshit” and kick him out to prevent further infection to the rest of us… sorry to go straight to the point, but… It’s ugly…

    can’t say it better.. Just for a minute forget this is from Nouvel…
    I’m crying for all the steel and concrete and other resources that will be wasted for this monster…

    And…Is it of fashion making psychedelic renderings ?

  • Matt

    “Its scale is such that we can not confuse it with a vulgar hotel or an office building”
    Yes, it’s a vulgar opera house…

  • eds

    …is it just me or…..does this look like a giant tombstone?