A Eurostar makeover

South African-born, London-based designer Christopher Jenner is the new creative director of the high-speed European railway service.

The creative director post is the first position of its kind in the rail industry. While the interiors for the revamped trains connecting London with the European mainland have been redesigned and refurbished by Italian car designer and coachbuilder Pininfarina, Christopher Jenner will focus on customer experience. He has also been charged with bringing what he calls “a fresh view and a design-led perspective” to new and existing projects across Eurostar’s businesses.

“This partnership gives me the opportunity to design to a wide range of customer touch points. As travel plays such an important part in our lives, this collaboration with Eurostar will allow me to further elevate the customer experience,” he said.

The appointment came about after Jenner met Eurostar’s chief executive at an event and they discussed the concept of how one can add emotional depth to a brand through design.

Jenner graduated in Cape Town and then spent time in Paris, Tel Aviv and Hong Kong before opening his studio in London in 2010. He is known for creating bespoke luxurious looks for his clients that combine heritage and tradition with a contemporary take, and often feature the work of traditional and artisanal craftsmen – as evidenced by the lush London stores of perfumers Penhaligon’s and Diptyque.

Eurostar is investing £700 000 000 in a fleet that will include newly refurbished trains in 2014 and new trains in 2015. The investment in revamped trains, new uniforms and an improved booking website is part of a broader picture to expand its routes network – prompted by the imminent competition by Deutsche Bahn for train service through the Channel Tunnel, which the company has said may start in 2016. Eurostar has monopolised the Tunnel up till now: London, Brussels and Paris have long been the company's main stops, with every train going through the Tunnel. 

In September, Eurostar announced an agreement with the Dutch railways to launch direct services between London and Amsterdam from December 2016. Eurostar hopes to capitalise on the London-Amsterdam air route, one of the most trafficked international airline markets in Europe.