Orient Express Revelation; Artisan of Travel Since 1883

After traveling to America, Georges Nagelmackers was motivated to build the best train in the world at the end of the 19th century. And so a legend was born. The Orient Express traveled through the major capitals of Europe, creating indelible links between West and East. It was a magical and epic story that ended in 1977. In the 1980s, tour operator and businessman Albert Glatt decided to buy up historic railway carriages and then start the NostalgieIstanbul-Orient-Express, an adventure train ride that ran from Zurich to Istanbul. But it later seemed to go away. Until 2015, industrial historian Arthur Mettetal tracked down the cars and Maxime d’Angeac took on the task of reinventing them…

all images © Maxime d’Angeac

Maxime d’Angeac; forge the fate of a legendary train

The architect’s collaborations with the houses of Daum and Hermès (in partnership with the American designer Hilton McConnico) are well known, as are two decades of prestigious restoration and decoration projects on iconic buildings such as the Maison Guerlain on the Champs-Elysées. Inspiration was drawn from the major revolutionary artistic movements, including the Italian Renaissance and Art Deco era, travel novels by Jules Verne and Henry Miller, and the post-apocalyptic comic Transperceneige. Now d’Angeac undertakes the project of his life:

Railway history reinterpreted

Maxime says about the project: “The starting point of this fabulous project is a dream. A contemporary story sprung from the legend of the Orient Express. It is a projection into an era – the 1920s – and into the culture of luxury and its craftsmen. It all started with drawings, sketches and handcrafted models. The work is just like in the past. Following in the footsteps 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 the desire to expand its history to bring us to another place to bring. As if everything were a dream.”

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“The future Orient Express is primarily a technical challenge. It is an object in motion, complex, defined by the beauty of rhythm and the laws of gravity, traversed by technological revolutions, by the history of invention and design. From these principles, a new and resolutely contemporary project was built. A human-scale project inspired by the idea of ​​the Modulor introduced by Le Corbusier in 1945, by the rigorous respect for proportions at the source of the design and the constant search for comfort on board. Created like a work of art, the future Orient Express train was born from a marvel, the nostalgic Istanbul Orient Express, completely reinvented and equipped with outstanding facilities. From this framework emerged a decor – one without a defined era, instead inspired by Art Deco, Empire and contemporary styles. The history of the train has been rewritten, this time beyond trends. Nothing is superfluous – every detail matters. It’s part technical feat, part dreamy workk Art that is the epitome of French luxury, complete with refined décor, sublimated by the savoir-faire and talent of the finest French artisans.”

The bar and dining cars

Almost a century and a half since the Orient Express was first incarnated, this one pays homage to its predecessor, not least in the bar. From the rosewood to the marble covering the tables to the bronze of the column capitals, the vibe is travel chic. . Second Empire-style skylights, rich green upholstery, and an all-glass counter (a homage to Lalique). Each table has a clock to announce the time for cocktails and dinner, a button for champagne service, and another for a member of staff to serve the table for everything else.

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The dining area was inspired by the Lalique tapestry motif (again part of the composition of the first Orient Express trains). The nineteenth century flagstone technique was used to make moldings and ceiling decorations and if you look up you will see your own reflection in a mirrored ceiling crossed by a series of arches reflecting a soft, muted light. Guests are seated at the nappa leather tables, lit by lamps whose shades recall the original models. And a private lounge brings the train’s original inlays back to life. The kitchen, hidden behind a glass wall, opens up and becomes a theater of culinary activity for you to watch and admire throughout your journey.

suite cars

Guests will retreat to their suites, where function is as important as luxurious comfort. Unlike the main lines used in rails, circular shapes here add softness and balance. Windows look like moving paintings, magic mirrors play with perspectives. Precious wood partitions and a leather wall reinterpret Suzanne Lalique’s famous “rail”.

motives. Headboards are covered in woodwork embroidery, mother-of-pearl and bronze beads, and corners feature Lalique’s original “Blackbirds & Grapes” panels, salvaged from the original nostalgic Istanbul-Orient Express carriages. Elliptical shelves keep newspapers, belongings and travel souvenirs in place. From day to night there is a big transformation, with a sofa and a sofa arranged in a night configuration with a 2 x 1.40 meter bed. Finally, the marble bathroom with sliding doors and a dressing room complete the inviting room layout.

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Theatrical decor and vaulted ceilings match the train’s thoroughfares. Accented by Lalique-signed “flower” lamps, original pieces from the nostalgic Istanbul-Orient-Express and an animated carpet, these are places of surprise and a touch of intrigue. Large windows take full advantage of the ever-changing panoramas and are framed by embroidered curtains. In practical terms; Handrails will be in place to allow passengers to stop for a while, mingle and while away the time.

after the dream

Sébastien Bazin, Accor Chairman & CEO, said at the launch: “We are proud to unveil today the first images of the future Orient Express train. A story inspired by a dream, a timeless train that is the subject of all fantasies and becomes a reality. Maxime d’Angeac’s design awakens the myth with the revelation of luxury, modernity and French elegance. Tomorrow, the Orient Express will shine again, proud of its 140-year history and looking to the future. The legend goes on.”

The Orient Express brand has cultivated unique experiences and collected rare artifacts. Now it’s playing a role in new departures (both literal and figurative) like the new Revelation and a global range of hotels (Orient Express La Minerva in Rome and Orient Express Palazzo Donà Giovannelli in Venice opening in 2024).

more details

From October 17th to 21st, Orient Express Revelation will take you on a journey of total immersion. Push open the mysterious door and live a unique digital experience while discovering the digital and fantastic carriages that realize the project of the architect Maxime d’Angeac.



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