An undulating golden plane blankets the new Islamic art galleries at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, which opened to the public this weekend (+ slideshow).
Designed by Italian architect Mario Bellini and his French colleague Rudy Ricciotti, the new gallery wing is surrounded by the neoclassical facades of the museum's Cour Visconti courtyard and has two of its three floors submerged beneath the ground.
Tessellated glass triangles create the self-supporting curves of the roof and are sandwiched between two sheets of anodized aluminium mesh to create a golden surface both inside and out.
Above: photograph is by Philippe Ruault
"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" said Bellini.
Beneath the roof, two exhibition floors accommodate over 2500 works by Islamic artists from the seventh to the nineteenth century.
Glass facades surround the galleries at ground floor level, so visitors can look out at the surrounding architecture, while the underground galleries are filled with artworks that are sensitive to light.
The layout of the galleries is designed as a loop, which connects with the existing routes of the museum and encourages visitors to enter the new wing.
A third floor is located beneath the galleries to house technical facilities and storage areas.
We’ve noticed a trend in golden buildings recently. See more of them here »
Section - click above for larger image
Photography is by Antoine Mongodin, apart from where otherwise stated.