Cool curve in Dubai

DUBAI - Dubai opened its Museum of the Future, a spectacular structure it is touting as the world's most beautiful building, on Tuesday.

The museum, a seven-storey hollow silver ellipse decorated with Arabic calligraphy of quotes from Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, and thousands of metres of LED lights, takes pride of place in Sheikh Zayed Road, the city's main highway.

While its contents have yet to be revealed, it will exhibit design and technology innovations, taking visitors on a "journey to the year 2071", organisers said.

Signboards along the roads nearby described the museum - just minutes away from the world's tallest construction, the Burj Khalifa - as the "most beautiful building on Earth" ahead of its gala opening.

It is the latest addition to the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) collection of flashy architecture and comes after the US$7 billion (S$9.5 billion) Expo world fair, featuring a swathe of futuristic designs, which opened on Dubai's outskirts on Sept 30 last year.

The UAE's capital Abu Dhabi is home to a branch of the Louvre, which last year had its licence extended by a decade to 2047 at a cost of €165 million (S$251 million).

Since French President Emmanuel Macron opened the Louvre Abu Dhabi in late 2017, it attracted some two million visitors in its first two years, before Covid-19 hit.

The wealthy UAE has made no secret of intentions to boost its soft power as a trading and tourism hub and to diversify its economy away from oil.

It has also sought to expand its space sector, sending its first astronaut into space in 2019 and a probe named "Amal" (Hope) into orbit around Mars last year - the first Arab country to pull off such a feat.

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