Belmond recently revealed an exclusive cinematic design partnership with filmmaker, Wes Anderson for the remodelling of its Cygnus carriage. Paying tribute to both the golden age of cinema and travel, he balanced the history of this iconic train with his own bold and modern vision.
Built in the 1950s, the carriage had its fair share of cinematic history and carried statesmen and survived World War II bomb raids. With this in mind, Wes Anderson has been able to carefully work on the historical preservation of the art deco inspired carriage with a modern interpretation of design.
Famed for films that are synonymous with exquisite aesthetics and predilection for panache, Wes Anderson is also a train enthusiast: “I love trains! I have often had the chance to invent train compartments and carriages in my movies — so I was immediately pleased to say ‘yes’ to this real-life opportunity, and 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; igniting this endangered species of travel into a new golden era.”
The carriage is instantly recognizable as a Wes Anderson design through his signature lines, unique colour pallettes and art nouveau style. With relentless details to feast upon, the result is a carriage straight out of one of his films: stunningly symmetrical marquetry, bold rectilinear shapes, and a vast array of complementary colours, a pastel-pink ceiling detailing and a variety of green tones in the carpets and chairs. Stunning marquetry work in numerous wood panels shows sunbeams, clouds, stars, and waves. Bold, sharp lines feature in the shape of the chairs and mirrors, adhering to the angular equilibrium the director is famed for.
Eagle eyes will also spot the many swan details, referencing the carriage’s name and history. Indeed, Anderson has paid careful tribute to the origins of the carriage: named after the Greek God of Balance, Cygnus is often personified as a swan and immortalized as one of the most recognizable constellations in the night sky. Detailed reference to the myth and legend can be found throughout the design in the intricate waves and swan detailing in the marquetry. From the meticulously positioned silver leaf on the ceiling that reflects like water, to the swan shaped champagne coolers – the carriage is a tribute to the majestic swan.
The partnership is also a cinematic celebration of the filmmaker’s unique story-telling skills. Arnaud Champenois, Senior Vice President, Brand & Marketing of Belmond, comments: “At Belmond we are custodians of timeless heritage. We are always seeking new ways to remain relevant and create new legendary adventures. It is our mission to keep the travel dreams alive by collaborating with the most creative talents, who share our passion for design and craftsmanship. It has been a privilege to work with Wes Anderson.”
Guests can ride in Cygnus on any journey on the British Pullman, a unique travel experience that rumbles across the rails all over England. In addition, the carriage offers a new level of privacy with two private coupés, where every detail of the design and experience takes the journey to a new level of luxury.