Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Belmond’s timeless Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train reclaims the bygone glamour of luxury travel along Paris, Rome, Venice, and beyond. At the heart of its set of carriages is the signature vintage charm and innate opulence synonymous with the historic line.

In collaboration with the Belmond team and Chef Jean Imbert, L’Observatoire International redesigned the ambiance of the iconic train’s carriages for a deeper, richer transport experience through location and time. Hand-dipped lamps engineered by Venetian and French artisans to uphold the technical conditions of the train glow a creamy, diffuse texture, warming deeper as natural light ebbs with the day’s turning. Subtle accents and retail spotlights layer radiance, much like a painter in the Golden Twenties might have stroked his brush for more intricate charm. In soft lustre, nostalgia breathes throughout the interiors and highlights the twentieth-century art deco impeccably featured across the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express’s existing design. Palpable history comes to light for a journey both indulgently ornate and unmistakably modern.

An additional dimension of the project is unveiled with a new dining carriage on the Venice Simplon-Orient Express train designed with a bar, performance space, and guest seating. Introducing a new modern dimming system, L’Observatoire International interpreted the lighting atmosphere of this magnetizing staple from the ground up. In concert with the unfolding operation of the profoundly sumptuous carriage, the lighting hues evolve with the deepening of the day. As guests linger over coffee and croissants, softly radiant bulbs complement the natural light of the morning. The afternoon’s golden arrival is complimented by rich sconces and cove lights, brightening backgammon and midday drinks against a backdrop of the landscape peacefully passing. Later in the night, the space transforms into an intimate stage area where music performances and exclusive DJ sets create boldly modern experiences. Meanwhile, the opulent bar comes alive with moments of distinct brilliance and sculpted lighting decadent in design. In this exquisitely luminous carriage, both history and the present share the spotlight for an affair to remember.


L'Observatoire International has been invited by Belmond to restore and reinvent the lighting of the historical train carriages and participate in the adventure of "step onto a legend in motion" the Venice Simplon - Orient Express. The scope includes the refurbishment of 4 carriages, including the existing Bar carriage and the existing dining cars (PHASE 1 opening April 23rd) and a new carriage (PHASE 2 opening in Summer 2022).


Location Worldwide
Interior Designer Belmond Interior Design Team
Client Belmond
Type Hospitality Transportation
Status In Progress

L'Observatoire Intl Team
Principal Hervé Descottes
Project Leaders Leah Xandora Francesco Secone
Photo Credits L'Observatoire International