ONCE UPON A TIME… THERE WAS THE FUTURE ORIENT EXPRESS TRAIN
Dream / Reveal
This is the story of a train born from a dream, one that defies time. Today it has been reimagined by architect Maxime d’Angeac. An original design, inspired by the 1920s, created with the codes of contemporary luxury. On the occasion of Contemporary Art Week in Paris, Orient Express will unveil the design of its future train exclusively at the Domus Maubourg* from October 17th to 21st. The new design will also be shown at Design Miami/ from November 30th to December 4th 2022 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Inside Maxime d'Angeac's vivid imagination
Known for his collaborations with the houses Daum and Hermès in partnership with the American designer Hilton McConnico, Maxime d’Angeac has been behind several prestigious restoration and decoration projects for the past 20 years – from the Maison Guerlain on the Champs-Elysées to breathing new life into the apartments, castles and private villas entrusted to him.
Fascinated by the great revolutionary artistic movements, in love with the Italian Renaissance as well as Art Deco, a lover of travel novels, a follower of the stories of Jules Verne, Henry Miller and the post-apocalyptic comic book Transperceneige, the architect took on the challenge of reinventing the legendary Orient Express.
A human adventure. The project of a lifetime. Designing a new destiny for a legendary train.
“The starting point of this fabulous project is a dream. A contemporary story that sprung from the legend of the Orient Express. It’s a projection into an era – the 1920s – and into the culture of luxury and its artisans. It all began with drawings, sketches and models made by hand. The work is meticulous just like it was in the past. By slipping into the shoes of its creators, from René Prou to Suzanne Lalique, I tried to reinterpret the history of this legendary train, not only with nostalgia, but with a desire to extend its history, to transport us to another place. As if it was all a dream.”
A Technical Challenge
“The future Orient Express is first and foremost a technical challenge. It is an object in motion, complex, defined by the beauty of rhythm and by the laws of gravity, traversed by technological revolutions, by the history of inventions and design. From these principles a new and resolutely contemporary project was built. A project on a human scale, inspired by the notion of the Modulor established by Le Corbusier in 1945, by the strict respect of proportions at the source of the design, and the permanent search for comfort on board.”
A Work Of Art
“Created like a work of art, the future Orient Express train was born from a marvel, the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express, entirely reinvented and equipped with outstanding facilities. From this framework, a decor emerged – one without a defined era, instead inspired by Art Deco, Empire and contemporary styles. The train’s history has been rewritten, this time transcending trends. Nothing is superfluous – each detail has meaning. It is part engineering feat, part dream-inspiring work of art that is the epitome of French Luxury, complete with refined decor, sublimated by the savoir-faire and talent of the finest French artisans.” – Maxime d’Angeac, architect of the future Orient Express
In 2015, the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express reappeared. This legendary train had faded from sight and seemed to be forgotten forever. Yet today, it is being reimagined by Maxime d’Angeac and the finest artisans in France. In 2024, just in time for the Paris Olympic Games, the first cars will be on display and passengers will be able to hop on board for the first time. Visitors will be able to get a sneak peek at the new decor of the future train.
Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO, Accor: “We are proud, today, to reveal the first images of the future Orient Express train. A story inspired by a dream, a timeless train, the object of all fantasies and which becomes reality. Maxime d’Angeac’s design awakens the myth with the revelation of its luxury, modernity, and French elegance. Tomorrow, the Orient Express will shine again, proud of its 140 years of history and looking to the future. The legend continues.”
The Bar Car
140 years after the launch of the first luxury Orient Express trains, Maxime d’Angeac pays tribute to a legend by revisiting the decorative codes of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century.
Under large Second Empire-style domes of light, each supported by four columns, the intimate lounges of the Bar Car emanate with spectacular green hues. From the rosewood to the marble covering the tables to the bronze of the column capitals, the mood is “travel chic.”
The layout is precise and intelligent, optimizing circulation on board, opening up spaces of conviviality, roundness and freedom. The bar is the centerpiece, with an all-glass counter, the perfect tribute to Lalique with a modern work of art that revisits the symbols of the famed glasswork brand. At each table, a clock rings out the time for cocktails and dinner. A call button is reserved for champagne service. Another button will summon the staff. The charm of the past effortlessly fuses with the present.
The Dining Car
Spectacular and unexpected, designed with both comfort and luxury in mind, the Dining Car of the future Orient Express reinterprets the codes of the legendary train.
Inspired by tapestry motifs by Suzanne Lalique, which were part of the composition of the first Orient Express trains, Maxime d’Angeac has reinterpreted the “rail” motif, diverted on the partitions thanks to the stoneboard. The technique was born in the nineteenth century and used to make ornaments of moldings and ceiling decorations.
Under a mirrored ceiling, crossed by a series of arches reflecting a soft subdued light, napa tables and armchairs are lined up, lit by lamps with shades revisiting the original models. A private lounge revives the original marquetry panels of the train. In the back, behind a glass wall, the kitchen opens up, a space reserved for the chef and his kitchen brigade, where we can see their movements and culinary choreography.
The corridors of the future Orient Express train are places of travel, encounters and surprises, and offer a theatrical decor. Under a vaulted ceiling, punctuated by “flower” lamps signed by Lalique, original pieces recovered from the Nostalgie-IstanbulOrient-Express, a graphic and rhythmic carpet animates the space. The large windows, perfect screens reflecting the passing landscapes, are adorned with embroidered curtains and support bars to give passengers the chance to dream or to meet and converse with each other.
Welcome to a world of luxury where comfort and function collide.
To counter the strict lines and designs of the train, Maxime d’Angeac introduced the circular shape to add softness and balance. The angles are rounded throughout the train. The windows are like paintings depicting nature. Magic mirrors play with perspectives.
Here, the partitions are covered with precious wood and a leather wall that reinterprets Suzanne Lalique’s famous “rail” motifs. The headboards are covered with wooden embroidery with mother-of-pearl and bronze beads. A carpet “comet” is an invitation to reverie. The nooks are adorned with Lalique’s original “Blackbirds & grapes” panels, recovered from the original Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient Express cars. Elliptical shelves hold newspapers, objects and travel souvenirs. Bottle holders and glasses are cleverly arranged.
By “Day”, the sofa and settee invite you to rest, relax and read. When it’s time for “the Great Transformation” (also known as the passage to the “night” room configuration), a 2 x 1.40-meter bed invites travelers for a night of deep sleep. Discreet and surprisingly comfortable, the bathroom with sliding doors is adorned with marble and the toilets and dressing room complete the beautiful layout.
The future Orient Express, the secrets of a rediscovered myth
Orient Express, artisan of travel since 1883, was born thanks to the dream of its founder, Georges Nagelmackers. Inspired by his trip to the Americas, he inaugurated the most luxurious train in the world. A legend was born. The Orient Express passed through the great European capitals, linking the West to the gates of the East. It was a magical and epic tale that ended in 1977.
At the beginning of the 1980s, Swiss-born tour operator and businessman Albert Glatt decided to resurrect the legendary train by buying up historic cars and inaugurating the Nostalgie- Istanbul-Orient-Express. This dream train-cruise ran from Zurich to Istanbul and was a resounding success. In 1992, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, embarked on his European tour, Dangerous. Under the name of the Far East Express, the train made the longest journey ever taken between Paris and Tokyo in the 1980s. Despite the achievement, the train stopped a few years later and disappeared.
In search of the last Orient Express
In 2015, Arthur Mettetal, a researcher specializing in industrial history, conducted a worldwide inventory of the Orient Express cars for the SNCF (France’s national rail service). Over the course of his research, he discovered a providential video of a train in full motion, posted by an anonymous person on YouTube. Thanks to his perseverance – and some help from Google Maps and Google 3D – he tracked down the trains. “The car roofs, visible on the aerial views, were indeed those of the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express, lined up on the border between Belarus and Poland,” he explained.
An art deco gem
The discovery of the treasured train took place a few months later, around 4 hours by car from Warsaw, Poland. Partly preserved, the interiors of the cars revealed Morrison and Nelson marquetry, as well as the Lalique panels, emblematic of the Art Deco style, intact and engraved with the glassware House’s signature “blackbirds and grapes” motifs. After two years of negotiations, the owner of the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express gave up his treasured train to Orient Express in July 2018. The architect Maxime D’Angeac took on the coveted task of writing its new history.
Rendez-vous at Design Miami/
After Paris, where the design of the future train will be unveiled exclusively from October 17th to October 21st at the Domus Maubourg (29, boulevard de La Tour Maubourg, Paris 7ème), Orient Express: The Reveal is invited to international design fair, Design Miami/, from November 30 to December 4, 2022, in Miami Beach, Florida.
Inside the train
Orient Express :
Artisan of travel since 1883, Orient Express sublimates the Art of Travel with its luxury trains, unique experiences, and collections of rare objects. And coming soon: its first hotels around the world, with the opening of Orient Express La Minerva in Rome and Orient Express Palazzo Donà Giovannelli in Venice in 2024. An additional project has been announced in Riyadh, the first city in the Middle East to announce the arrival of an Orient Express hotel. In parallel with the launch of the Orient Express imagined by Maxime d’Angeac, Orient Express La Dolce Vita will welcome its first passengers on board its luxury trains in early 2024 – making up a full universe that will offer Orient Express travellers a complete ultra-luxury travel experience.
Design Miami/ :
Design Miami/ connects the world through extraordinary collectible design, with live fairs and experiences on three continents that bring together galleries, designers, brands, experts, collectors, and enthusiasts. Each edition of Design Miami/ features museum-quality 20th and 21st century furniture, lighting, and objets d’art from the world’s top, expertly vetted galleries, in addition to showcasing immersive design collaborations with celebrated brands. With flagship fairs taking place alongside Art Basel in Miami, Florida, each December and Basel, Switzerland, each June, Design Miami/ is thrilled to bring its signature mix of design culture and commerce to Paris in October 2023. Design Miami/ is also accessible 365-days a year through designmiami.com, a content-rich digital marketplace featuring works from leading galleries and original editorial and video content on Forum Magazine.
Accor is a world leading hospitality group consisting of 5,300 properties and 10,000 food and beverage venues throughout 110 countries. The group has one of the industry’s most diverse and fully-integrated hospitality ecosystems encompassing more than 40 luxury, premium, midscale and economy hotel brands, entertainment and nightlife venues, restaurants and bars, branded private residences, shared accommodation properties, concierge services, co-working spaces and more. Accor’s unmatched position in lifestyle hospitality – one of the fastest growing categories in the industry – is led by Ennismore, a joint venture, which Accor holds a majority shareholding. Ennismore is a creative hospitality company with a global collective of entrepreneurial and founder-built brands with purpose at their heart. Accor boasts an unrivalled portfolio of distinctive brands and more than 230,000 team members worldwide. Members benefit from the company’s comprehensive loyalty program – ALL – Accor Live Limitless – a daily lifestyle companion that provides access to a wide variety of rewards, services and experiences. Through its Planet 21 – Acting Here, Accor Solidarity, RiiSE and ALL Heartist Fund initiatives, the Group is focused on driving positive action through business ethics, responsible tourism, environmental sustainability, community engagement, diversity and inclusivity. Founded in 1967, Accor SA is headquartered in France and publicly listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange (ISIN code: FR0000120404) and on the OTC Market (Ticker: ACCYY) in the United States. For more information visit group.accor.com, or follow Accor on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.