The dome of the new Louvre in Abu Dhabi

A profile machining masterpiece by elumatec


Mühlacker. On November 11th 2017 the Louvre in Abu Dhabi has opened its doors. It is a museum of superlatives and a French homage to the Arab World. The new palace of art is covered by an imposing dome which seems to be floating above the entire museum complex at the end of the promenade. It is a masterpiece of intelligent profile machining technology by elumatec AG from Mühlacker in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

The idea of creating a sister museum to the Louvre in Paris arose from a cross-national agreement between

the governments of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, and France in 2007.

Photo: TDIC Design Ateliers Jean Nouvel/Mohamed Somji

The museum complex - an exceptional world between land and sea

This futuristic-looking museum complex was designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel. His design underlines the wish of both countries, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and France, to create a universal museum in which all cultures are brought together. In his choosing of a free shape he was inspired by elementary observations of light and shadow, reflection, movement and tranquillity and the present climate. In this way the so far unique and welcoming world between land and sea was created, in which the country presents its history, civilisation, geography and culture.

The viewer perceives these enchanting effects as a sort of “rain of light” which draws him in and turns a stay in the Louvre into a singular experience.

Photo: TDIC Design Ateliers Jean Nouvel/Mohamed Somji

The dome - an equally fascinating and complex construction

There is a long tradition for domed structures in Arabic culture, where they have an emblematic and symbolic value (mausoleum, mosque and madras). Jean Nouvel reinterpreted this symbolism here on the island of Saadiyat using innovative materials. What makes the dome of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi even more special is the fascinating orchestration of "light and movement" at every time, day or night.

The seemingly random but deliberate arrangement of geometrical openings shall evoke the idea of overlapping palm leaves,

which are traditionally used as roofing material in the UAE.

Photo: TDIC Design Ateliers Jean Nouvel/Mohamed Somji

The dome structure with a diameter of 180 m is based on four pillars positioned at 110 m from each other. Its highest point lies at 40 m above sea level. At night the dome forms a canopy of 7,850 stars in total, which remain visible from the inside and outside. This complex star-like construction consists of eight levels of staggered modules of steel and aluminium in various sizes and angles.

The dome consists of a total of eight constructive levels, of which three levels (top and bottom view) of aluminium profiles differing in size,

arrangement and geometry have been fitted in an offset manner.

Photo: elumatec AG, Mühlacker


Trusting international collaboration 
- the basis for efficient implementation of a challenging project

The project development for this extraordinary construction project was managed by Waagner-Biro from Vienna/Austria, a steel construction company known for its uncompromising approach. The production order for the dome elements was secured by the Abu Dhabi-based elumatec partner company White Aluminium. The implementation of the architectural design required close cooperation of the project developer Waagner-Biro, Vienna/Austria, and the manufacturer of intelligent profile machining centres, elumatec from Mühlacker/Baden-Württemberg (Germany).

About two thirds of the museum complex are covered by a dome-shaped construction with a diameter of 180 metres.

What makes the dome of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi special is the orchestration of “light and movement” at every time, day or night.

Photo: TDIC Design Ateliers Jean Nouvel/Mohamed Somji


Comprehensive support during construction documentation and work preparation - a standard service of elumatec

The elumatec AG not only supported the manufacturers during the acquisition and installation of the corresponding production facilities, but also provided comprehensive technical services. The technical support for the Louvre in Abu Dhabi extended over the entire production process. This included the handling of the interface for digital data processing, the testing phase, logistics and the recommendation of installing a profile machining centre suitable for this construction task. At times, elumatec even monitored production at the customer's site, where in addition to profile machining the final assembly of the individual elements took place.

With the aid of the 1:1 mock-up the elaborate dome structure is made visible, manufactured at the profile machining centre elumatec SBZ 151 Flexium+.

Photo: elumatec AG, Mühlacker

SBZ 151 Flexium+ - the ideal profile machining centre for sophisticated profile machining

For the implementation of this sensational architectural project the mechanical technicians of elumatec AG established two profile machining centres of the type SBZ 151 Flexium+ at White Aluminium in Abu Dhabi, which were identical in construction. They are 5-axis profile machining centres designed for economical and efficient machining of aluminium and thin-walled steel profiles. All operational steps of the SBZ 151 Flexium+, such as milling, drilling, tapping, notching and sawing are carried out on a static profile bar in order to protect the profile surface. All six profile sides are worked on simultaneously. The on-board tool magazines ensure that tool changing times are kept short, thereby optimising working cycles.

Activation is controlled via the ideal profile machining centre for sophisticated Profile machining, elumatec SBZ 151 Flexium+

Photo: elumatec AG, Mühlacker


eluCad - the user-friendly software for creating an interface between construction and production

SBZ 151 Flexium+ is controlled using the software eluCad, an intelligent software solution developed by the elumatec subsidiary elusoft for efficient and machine-independent programming. This user-friendly software is designed so that the user does not have to program using ISO codes, but can simply enter the data in a logically structured graphic user interface. Programming is carried out via an automated CSV interface.


For the construction documentation and ensuing work preparation the project developer provided all necessary CSV files, from which the elumatec AG took over the relevant parameters. Based on this input more than 21 master files were generated and the production data for approx. 500,000 profile parts were transferred to the eluCad software. After a testing phase at the site of Mühlacker the measures for production scheduling were launched.

Here the elumatec AG has built two identically constructed profile machining centres of the type SBZ 151 Flexium+ for manufacturing the components of the dome.

Photo: elumatec AG, Mühlacker


A testimony of outstanding international collaboration

This extraordinary architectural masterpiece by Jean Nouvel is one of the most ambitious projects in the world. It also testifies to the outstanding cooperation of the project partners Waagner-Biro in Austria, the elumatec AG subsidiary White Aluminium in the UAE and the elumatec AG in Germany.

Detailed view of a star element in the dome consisting of 7,800 whole stars.

Photo: elumatec AG, Mühlacker




In total, more than 500,000 individual parts are assembled here.

Photo: elumatec AG, Mühlacker


Final assembly of the dome at White Aluminium in Abu Dhabi.

Photo: elumatec AG, Mühlacker

The individual stars vary in size. The detail shown here measures approx.

four metres in height.

Photo: elumatec AG, Mühlacker


About elumatec AG

elumatec AG is the global market leader in the production of machines for the processing of aluminium, plastic and steel profiles. With its extensive product range, the company covers the entire spectrum of applications from small craftsman's businesses to industrial profile processors. Custom-designed and modular machinery concepts provide flexible and individualised industry solutions for all groups of customers. The company, which is headquartered in the Swabian town of Mühlacker and was founded in 1928, has subsidiaries and dealers in more than 50 countries, employs about 700 people worldwide and achieved consolidated sales of over 125 million euro in 2016.