Christopher Jenner brings "craft" to Eurostar
with London Ticket Hall redesign


News: Eurostar's new creative director Christopher Jenner has ditched the contemporary styling of predecessor Philippe Starck for a retro look, with the new London Ticket Hall combining Art Nouveau and Victorian Gothic to evoke the "golden age of travel" (+ slideshow).

London-based interior designer Christopher Jenner unveiled designs for the standard and business class ticket offices for the Eurostar terminal in St Pancras station this week, with the aim of creating a "less pedestrian travel experience".

Business Class Ticket Office

Furniture and fittings for both spaces have been styled to incorporate materials and shapes common in the late 19th and early 20th century.

"Art Nouveau and Victorian Gothic design principles are expressed through a narrative of craft,
heralding a return to the Golden Age of travel," said an official statement about the project.

"Essentially our motivation was to design a more crafted experience for the travel industry," Jenner told Dezeen. "A good travel brand is judged by how it responds to its clients' needs. We've designed a space which is functional, yet embodies the narrative of connection and journey within its DNA."

Business Class Ticket Office

A Venetian plaster wall in the business class office is interrupted with curvy panels of walnut edged in brass. The same combination of wood and metal is used for the cabinetry, and bespoke blown-glass lampshades are suspended over the ticket desk made of formed Corian edged with wood.

Standard Class Ticket Office

A 30-metre-long hand-drawn illustration of the journey from London to Paris is recreated on photo-etched stainless steel to cover the main walls of the standard class office. Curved desks are formed out of Corian, edged in steel and English oak.

Limestone has been used to create new flooring for both spaces, which will retain their glazed frontages.

Standard Class Ticket Office

"Art Nouveau and Victorian Gothic were radical movements, which utilised craft as their key illustrative medium," said Jenner.

"Their evolution was timed alongside the advent of mass transportation. Both movements responded to this need in vastly different ways, yet they shared common values. These values – fluidity, organic, enriched and symbolic – were key inspiration points in the development of the design."

Standard Class Ticket Office

The London Ticket Hall is the South African-born designer's first major project to be unveiled for Eurostar since he was appointed creative director for the high speed train service in October 2013.

Prior to his appointment, Jenner developed a concept for the cabin interior of one of the firm's trains with individual seats covered in yellow quilted fabric, and a mix of hardwood and carbon fibre surfaces.

Eurostar interior concept by Christopher Jenner 2012
Jenner's cabin interior proposal from 2012

Jenner's designs are a significant departure from the aesthetic created by Eurostar's previous creative director – prolific French designer Philippe Stark – who was brought in to oversee a redesign of the firm's train interiors, terminals, check-in lounges, signage, uniforms and cutlery in 2001, remaining with the company as a consultant until 2005.

"When a brand embraces a clearly defined design strategy, and the use of considered craftsmanship, the results can seem refreshingly radical," said Jenner. "We have repeatedly implemented the same strategic approach across our client portfolio, and each time the results have been encouraging."

  • omnicrom

    That is bloody awful.

  • Design crimes

    It looks like he’s taken cues from ugly coffee shops and the set designs from 80s-style Dallas boardrooms. At first I thought it was student work. Refreshingly radical this is not! The less said about the chairs the better, may they remain just a concept.

  • John Ellway

    Just ghastly!

  • Alimac

    Nothing says Victorian Art Nouveau Gothic Craft (is that even a thing?) like the reassuring feel of, er, Corian.

  • Theo H

    It’s funny how wrong this is. I suppose one could argue that a city will by definition only get the design it deserves, but this design seems very unfortunately to imply that the only reason for a Londoner to go to Paris is to experience the Steampunk nostalgia of a film such as Hugo.

    Christopher Jenner’s dowdy website really doesn’t help. In between misaligned columns of small images it claims that he has an ability to “conflate the past and present”. Conflating things is a dangerous business, even if you aren’t worried about conceptual purity. This project has nothing to do with the creative impurity of Modern Gothic as proposed by Lars Spuybroek. If there’s a recent project that should cause us to fear kitsch and “hauntology”, it’s this one, a mindless mining of the aesthetics and the image of craft techniques of the past, intended to create a specific emotion in the customer.

    (The chain of Leon cafes in London could be argued to be the acceptable, but perhaps no less insidious, face of “hauntology” in design.)

    Can we live with this kind of thing? Jenner’s website promises that “his work is regularly featured in the global press, generating valuable recognition and return for his clients”. A few generations ago that kind of “hire me because I’m famous” nonsense would have been condemned as vulgarity, but at least it implies that a bad consumer reaction can have an effect.

  • Kay

    Here is the thing, Art Noveau and Victorian Gothic are pretty much the antithesis of each other. Any attempt to fuse them will only bring out a freakishly ugly alien baby. Instead, I would have stuck to Art Noveau and fused some elements of Art Deco and mid-century Modernism. London’s Art Deco and Modernism eras are just as prolific and important as its Victorian Gothic years. Paris also had a brief Art Deco period followed by an extensive modernist revival.

    The whole thing doesn’t fuse well with the surroundings. Eurostar deserves better.

  • Romain_M

    Looks like the waiting room for “Disneyland’s Steampunk Adventure”.

    The Eurostar High-Speed Trains are impressive pieces of technology, yet the marketing team deemed it useful to build something that reeks of charcoal and wood veneer?

  • Bobby D

    That sure won’t age well.

  • bonsaiman

    I am still looking for Art Nouveau and NeoGothic elements here. It looks much more like a 1970’s department store kitsch to me. Back to design history classes!

    • Romain_M


  • dan

    Sorry Mr Jenner, you’re no star.

  • Justsayin

    This is such a missed opportunity! Eurostar was such a hopeful endeavour, and successful in the early days at recapturing the elegance of train travel. Admittedly, it’s well overdue an upgrade, but the tired Phillipe Starke design is still more relevant today that this.

    There may well be “craft”, but it looks like the interior of a Russian billionaire’s yacht. Opulent to a garish degree.

  • Seb miller

    Terrible! Feature ceiling looks too low and like infill panels with ac ducts behind them. Main counter has exposed computer terminals. And mindless design clutter. A mess of too many ideas and styles. Reminds me of an all-you-can-eat platter with too many little things on the plate. Vomit bag please.

  • eyeontheworld

    Executed using conceptual design; ideology social engineering. First class, business class. Purity of design, respect to functionality. We are all entitled to travel. When will society stop accepting money-orientated superiority?

  • Clichy

    That is breathtakingly bad. Everything is wrong with this design. How on earth did Jenner land this gig? He has no skill in transportation design.

    The really bad thing is I will have to tolerate this crap every time I travel Eurostar until the next refit in five years time.

    What were Eurostar thinking when they commissioned this?

  • tp13

    I can get off at my destination though, right? Lol

  • Lembro

    This would never get built in Paris, they would know beyond doubt that this is wrong. How did they approve such a mistake for St Pancras?