From The Secrets of Paris by Michael Kerrigan.
The Arab World Institute was opened in 1981 to foster understanding between the West and the Arab countries. The prophet Muhammad discouraged his followers from flaunting their wealth with gold, silver, and jewels, so Arab craftsmen found ways (like marquetry, mosaic and the most delicate wood work and leather work) of making ordinary materials precious. In Jean Nouvel's innovative building, these values become architectural, a basic modern glass-and-aluminum construction given an alabaster sheen. What at first glance look to be blank office-block windows are ornamented with lattice-like motifs. These adjust themselves automatically controlling light levels inside. (page 110).