Dezeen Magazine

Maxime d'Angeac gives the Orient Express train its first redesign in almost 100 years

In this exclusive video produced by Dezeen, French architect Maxime d'Angeac reveals how his redesign of the historic Orient Express train aims to create "a new embassy of French luxury".

Launching in 2025, the interiors of the train cars were revealed in an immersive virtual reality (VR) exhibition called Orient Express Revelation, displayed during Paris art week between 17 to 21 October 2022.

The Orient Express train's Bar Car interior with domed ceilings and bright green seating
The updated interiors of the train were revealed through an immersive VR experience

The first Orient Express train was designed by Belgian civil engineer Georges Nagelmackers 140 years ago. Since then, the train received its first and only redesign in 1924, making D'Angeac's reinterpretation the first in almost 100 years.

"We have two versions of the Orient Express," explained D'Angeac in the video. "One in 1833, and one extremely famous [sic] that you could see in the movies of James Bond and of Sidney Lumet, which was the Orient Express 1924."

"Since 1924, nothing happened, so we've redone everything 100 years later."

Interior view of the Orient Express train's sleeping area with a large bed and single armchair
The new design will be launched in 2025, marking its first update in 100 years

Hospitality group Accor selected D'Angeac based on his experience of carrying out restoration and decoration projects for brands such as Daum, Hermès, and Guerlain over the past 20 years. He was given the simple brief of "redesigning the most iconic train in the world."

The new design is informed by 19th-century French design and is characterised by "contemporary luxury". It features rosewood details, marble-covered tables and bronze column capitals.

"This is the reinterpretation of a legendary train, conceived as a new embassy of French luxury, sublimated by the know-how and talents of the best French craftsmen," said D'Angeac.

Close up of Bar Car interior with bright green seating and small round table with drinks sitting atop
The design includes a Bar Car with domed ceilings and bright green armchairs

The Bar Car features large domed skylights informed by Second Empire-style and an all-glass bar counter that pays tribute to French jeweller René Lalique, whose glassworks adorned the original Orient Express train.

"A good example of the complexity of the work is the bar, because it's a tribute to the French and of the 19th century," explained D'Angeac.

Interior view of the dining area, which has dimmed lighting, a mirrored ceiling and cosy seating
The Dining Car is dimly lit and has a mirrored ceiling, which creates a warm ambiance

The Dining Car features a mirrored ceiling punctuated by a series of arches, dining tables and cosy wraparound armchairs, as well as lampshades that pay homage to the original lights found in the train.

The boarding suites feature a material palette of wood and leather with accents of mother pearl and bronze. Panels taken from the original train, which feature Lalique's Blackbirds & Grapes design, are used throughout the rooms.

Interior of boarding suite with a four-seater sofa, single armchair and small writing desk
The bedroom suites are adorned with accents of mother pearl and bronze

The immersive exhibition will make its way from Paris to Design Miami in November, displaying from 30 November to 4 December.

More information about the launch of the new Orient Express is available here, with behind-the-scenes access and exclusives from the architects, designers and artists.

Partnership content

This video was produced by Dezeen for Accor as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen's partnership content here.

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