Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — The old Orient Express carriages have been forgotten for many years at a small railway station called Małaszewicze on the border between Poland and Belarus.
One day in 2015, a French rail enthusiast, Arthur Mittel, saw the iconic blue carriages in a YouTube video, prompting him to embark on a journey across Europe to track down missing trains.
Hospitality group Accor bought the reinvented carriages and hired Parisian architect Maxime Dancak to meticulously restore them to be ready for use on a rail line from Paris to its final stop in Istanbul, as scheduled from 2025.
A first look previews the interior renovation designs of the train cars, which aim to provide a luxury travel experience that combines Art Deco charm with contemporary luxury.
A connecting point between the past and the present
While the long-distance, trans-European Orient Express immortalized by detective novelist Agatha Christie no longer exists, the name remains synonymous with old fashion.
Luxury travel company Belmond operates flights in honor of the Orient Express between cities including London and Amsterdam. Separately, Accor, which impressively envisions the reinvented Mawashivic rickshaws, will launch the Orient Express in Italy in 2023.
When Mitital first peers into the interior of each of the preserved compartments within Mawasvice Station, he is struck by the fact that they are “almost undamaged, just rusted by the passage of time”, despite at least ‘ was discontinued a decade ago.
Mittittal told CNN in July, “All the decorations were intact and time seemed to have stopped here.”
The interiors included inlaid Art Deco paneling by the English interior designers Morrison and Nelson, as well as glass panels by the French craftsman René Lalique.
While the carriages were well preserved, it was clear to the Accor team that a conscious restoration was needed before the carriages could return to the railways. This is where Dangiac comes in.
This week, the designer told CNN that the goal was to preserve the train’s history while giving it a futuristic touch.
“We absolutely have to think about how we can keep up with this train more in line with the future, we have to make sure that we keep its strong roots,” he noted.
He added that although the vintage cars are smaller than their modern counterparts, he enjoyed the challenge of “finding ways to achieve maximum comfort and luxury, especially in small spaces”.
charming interior designs
The first images released by Accor show sumptuous interiors, in which dark wood panels create a cozy atmosphere, characterized by flashes of color, such as green velvet sofas.
The motif of repeating glass and mirrors reinforces the feeling of openness, even in the dining car, which has a striking reflective roof.
Accor described the train corridors as “theatre”.
Cheerful classic features and modern twists, located in the bar cart, are spread out on tables equipped with a champagne call.
Dancak told CNN he was very proud of the wings’ final result, explaining that the designs embody “the spirit of the twenties” and will be exciting day and night. With sofa beds during the day, the suites also have round tables and mirrors, designed by Danjiac to “soften and calm” the chassis of the angular train and carriages.
Artur Mitital, who rediscovered the Mawashivic carriages seven years ago and is now director of heritage and culture at the Accor Orient Express, said he was delighted to get a first look at the reimagined interiors.
Mittittal told CNN he believes Dancak “immediately captured the feel, atmosphere and history of this train and connected it to modernity.”