All aboard! Wes Anderson designs luxury train carriage
Film Director Wes Anderson has a distinctive visual and story-telling style, which he has expressed to great acclaim in films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tenenbaums. He also an affinity for the beauty and excitement of train travel, evidenced in The Darjeeling Ltd which follows three brothers (played by Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman) on their luxury train journey across India. So, when luxury travel specialist Belmond were looking to redesign a carriage interior of their British Pullman train, who better to turn to than Anderson himself? It’s a marriage made in heaven.
Anderson’s passion for craftsmanship shines through in this design project where he has blended the historical features of the carriage known as Cygnus, with his own idiosyncratic style. The result could easily be one of his film sets! We find stunningly symmetrical marquetry, bold rectilinear shapes and a feast of complementary colours.
The new look Cygnus, which was originally built in the 1950s, oozes glamour from a time gone-by. The chair upholstery, carpets and curtains sing out in various tones of green and the ceiling has pastel-pink detailing. Anderson has also incorporated stylised clouds, stars and waves in the wood panelling.
The bold, sharp lines created by the chairs and mirrors are reminiscent of the angular equilibrium the director is famed for. Eagle eyes will also spot the many swan details, referencing the carriage’s name, and silver leaf features on the car’s ceiling to create a water-like reflection.
The Cygnus carriage itself has already experienced a fair share of cinematic history: It featured in the 1972 film Agatha starring Dustin Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave. It is one of eleven on the British Pullman train which has hosted royalty, carried statesmen and even survived World War II bomb raids.
The colour green also appears in the custom crockery that was chosen by the director.
“I have often had the chance to invent train compartments and carriages in my movies,” says Anderson, “So I was very eager to make something new while also participating in the process of preservation which accompanies all the classic Belmond train projects. They are keeping something special alive. An endangered species of travel which is nevertheless very suited to our time.”
Experience Wes Anderson’s train carriage and criss-cross Britain in true cinematic style: The British Pullman, Cygnus can be booked for a day excursion with dining, leaving from London’s Victoria railway station. The carriage also contains two private coupés which provide an ‘elevated guest experience’ for up to four people or the entire carriage can be booked for up to 26 people.
The train’s first voyage on October 13th times nicely with the theatrical release of Wes Anderson’s latest film, The French Dispatch. Tickets begin at £400 per person in the open dining car and £1800 for the coupé for four.