• Transform magazine
  • May 24, 2019

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Multilingual typeface and wordmark for Louvre Abu Dhabi

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Saadiyat Island, set to be the centre of cultural and artistic life in Abu Dhabi, will see its jewel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, open in 2015. The museum, an extension of Paris’ Louvre in the Emirates, has been designed by architecture and design firm Jean Nouvel Atelier. It’s architectural style and visual identity draw from a brand strategy focusing on a basic tenet of Islamic architecture: the cupola.

The main building of the museum reflects its position on an island and acts as an archipelago beneath a massive, umbrella-shaped cupola designed to allow light to stream through the space.

The new logo and typeface, designed by Studio Philippe Apeloig, is implemented in both Roman and Arabic script. The typeface Apeloig chose, Frutiger was selected for its modernity and flexibility across signage. He then developed the typeface further, creating Frutiger LT to accommodate for use across many languages.

Lebanese typographer, Kristyan Sarkis was called upon to create an Arabic typeface that reflected both the openness and lyrical nature of the architecture while also noting the extreme heat of the region in which the museum is located. Apeloig told Designboom, “The flat outline of the design alludes abstractly to the horizontality of the architecture, echoed and reinforced by the waterline. a thick, straight line perforated with hatchwork creates a series of hyphens of different widths that scatter in different directions, embodying not only the dynamic link between world cultures but illustrating and giving form to the kinetic effects of light.”

The logo is completed by a broken line of shapes that reflect the shapes of the individual letters in the wordmark. Apeloig says the inspiration for both typeface and logo was the museum’s architectural elegance and lightness.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi will amount to 24,000 square feet with a dome 180 metres in diameter. Apeloig will develop a full brand, wayfinding and application for the museum.