Dragon and Phoenix – Centuries of Exchange between Chinese and Islamic worlds

Organised by Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet and France Muséums, Louvre Abu Dhabi’s new exhibition Dragon and Phoenix – Centuries of Exchange between Chinese and Islamic Worlds showcases the cultural and artistic exchange between the Chinese and Islamic civilisations from the eighth to the eighteenth century.

Designing innovative mediation at the heart of the exhibition

As an international museum consultancy, France Muséums strives to develop its expertise in order to offer ever more innovative and accessible visitor experiences. For the exhibition Dragon and Phoenix, Centuries of Exchange between Chinese and  Islamic World, France Muséums was in charge of designing and producing the, scenography, signage and mediation and provided support on the scientific conception. Futhermore, France Muséums coordinated the transport and installation of the 250 works of art. For this exhibition, France Muséums is proud to have brought together leading experts to design innovative mediation tools that combine scientific content with new technologies to meet a key objective for the Louvre Abu Dhabi:  namely, making this exhibition an innovative, inclusive, lively, and accessible experience for all.


The first engagement point for the public is a two-channel video focusing on the importance of the ceramic trade between the Chinese and Islamic worlds. It reveals the rich exchanges and mutual influences between the two cultures by specifically looking at the cobalt blue technique. Cobalt blue originated in the Islamic world before being widely used in China. Its other name, ‘Muslim blue’, points to the profusion of exchanges between the two civilizations and allows us to identify and trace the great trade routes.

The 4-minute video is a filmed interview with the curator Sophie Makariou, telling the story of these exchanges through a selection of ceramic works presented in the exhibition. The curator is filmed handling the artworks and focusing on the details, textures, materiality, shapes and colours. The twin-screen presentation creates a dynamic interplay between the images. The video provides key historical and contextual insights and invites visitors to look at the artworks more closely and immerse themselves further in the exhibition.  Visitors are invited to awaken their senses and to search for details throughout their visit.


France Muséums, in partnership with Drôle de Trame and Théoriz Studio, has designed an immersive and interactive installation for the exhibition Dragon and Phoenix, Centuries of Exchange between China and the Islamic World for the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The installation focuses on the key theme of the bestiary. It highlights the rich iconography of composite, bizarre and unreal creatures and reveals the importance of the marvellous and highly symbolic imaginary that pervaded the Chinese and Islamic worlds. Our unique 50 sq.m. interactive installation tells the story of the encounter between the Dragon and the Phoenix, the two great mythical symbols linking China and the Islamic world. It uses details from artworks presented in the exhibition and an original organic soundtrack to create an imaginary world where the viewer embarks on a dreamlike journey. Walking on clouds, water and golden sand, the visitor is immersed in a fabulous world and follows strange creatures in order to discover the exhibition, its themes, and artefacts from a new perspective.

This complete interactive audio-visual experience highlights details of each of the works presented in the rest of the exhibition.

When designing exhibitions and mediation tools, France Muséums looks at how the public’s expectations have evolved in order to offer visitors an innovative and immersive experience in harmony with curatorial content. This immersive journey reflects people’s eagerness for innovative sensory experiences in exhibitions allowing them to look at exhibits in a new contemplative way.

This experiential installation was a real technical challenge and has been designed exclusively for the exhibition space of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The expertise of France Muséums

For each exhibition, France Muséums provides a wide range of support and assistance to Louvre Abu Dhabi and its partner museums. Design, planning, production, and coordination of stakeholders are the main steps in our project management methodology. France Muséums is responsible for the overall coordination of the exhibition, including assistance with the production of scientific and cultural content; the development and production of the concept notes, the display layouts and the mediation tools; the negotiation of art loans; and the logistics of transporting and installing the exhibits.

Discover how France Muséums designs multi-facetted mediation tools to enrich the visitor experience