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Jewel in the Gulf, in the Weekend magazine


THE latest jewel in the Gulf isn't another jaw-dropping skyscraper but a comparatively restrained and classy ode to fine art - the Louvre, Abu Dhabi. In Friday's edition of Weekend magazine, get a close-up look at the US$2 billion cultural showcase that made waves at its opening when it spent US$450 million to acquire Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi ("Saviour of the World", circa 1500) - making it the most expensive painting ever sold.

Together with 300 works on loan from the Paris Louvre and other institutions such as the Pompidou Centre and the Musée d'Orsay, the Abu Dhabi museum is just part of the the Emirates' bold attempt to evolve from being a purely oil-based economy to one where cultural tourism and so-called "soft power" play an increasingly prominent role. But for art lovers around the world, it's a treat not to be missed.

Meanwhile, in this season of Ramadan, we look at how halal dining has evolved from the usual hawker and casual fare and entered into the fine dining realm. We speak to enterprising Muslim chefs who are offering more upmarket options from modern European to Japanese-inspired izakaya cuisine.

At the upcoming Venice Architecture Biennale, the Singapore Pavilion showcases how our homegrown architects make use of the city's limited space through their building designs. In Weekend Interview, we speak to Michelle Yong, director of property firm Aurum, and how the scion of the well-known Woh Hup group is making her own mark on the property scene.

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