This February, Eurostar in Paris has opened a new Business Premier Lounge at Paris’s Gare du Nord Station. It provides a new tranquil space from which you can work and relax designed by Softroom architects. On the top floor of the 19th century building, with its original high ceilings and marble fireplaces, you can find a cocktail bar, restaurant and intimate snugs – the space captures the essence of a luxurious Parisian apartment. And in a bid to follow a trend happening both sides of the Channel for taking art outside its usual environment, the new lounge is also a gallery.
The Lounge incorporates a range of top notch contemporary art that has been selected in partnership with one of Candid Magazine’s favourite London haunts, The Hospital Club. The Hospital Club has long been on the London radar for its support of up emerging talent on both the national and international art scene.
They have a dedicated gallery space in their Covent Garden Club which in the past has exhibited the Graphic works of Dominic Beatty and the digital art of collective ‘Field’. They also commissioned 15 artists to create art for their 15 rooms. Now they have turned their sharp eye to partnering with Eurostar to exhibit three artists from the Club’s art community in the three Business Premier Lounges in London, Brussels and Paris.
Dedicated to showing the best in Contemporary French art, the new Paris space is now filled with works of art by Véronique Ellena in a show curated by Hospital Club’s brilliant curator Ali Hillman. The works compliment the carefully selected pieces of Modernist furniture like sleek Tom Dixon-esque couches and velvet stools to create an atmosphere that feels like a chic home from home. Ellena’s series Clairs Obscurs is based upon the perceptions of nature.
The large-scale images (each 1.3 x 1 metre) emit a vibrant orange glow – each of the works lead a journey in to the unconscious. They are framed and enlarged colour negatives of interiors, where all of a sudden shadow becomes light, and light becomes shadow. The ethereal works have a peaceful kinetic energy that resonates with the lounge’s new atmosphere, and the whole space feels like a tightly curated urban paradise. Each of the works even is for sale, should you wish to take home the ultimate French souvenir, with prices from 7,000 euros. The show will stay up for a year, before another artist will be selected, helping keep the ‘gallery’ notion in swing and the lounge feeling contemporary.
The lounge follows a slew of other bars, restaurants and hotels who have started to display fine art, and thankfully gone are the years of cheaply framed prints and dusty reproductions. It helps the upper-tier traveller feel acclimatized to their surroundings – if you’re going to have art in your home, why not your office or club – or mode of transport? It makes perfect sense. And Eurostar have pulled it off with great success as the well planned, well displayed show delivers a collection of art which sparks discussion.
Of course you find all the other trappings of a lounge suited to well heeled travellers, including a sleek gold and black cocktail bar with drinks curated by London Cocktail Club exclusively for Eurostar, and a restaurant offering a variety of hot and cold dishes, salads and healthy snacks which has been overseen by none other than Raymond Blanc OBE. The new lounge offers an unrivalled level of style, comfort and sophistication, and a visit will finish off any jaunt to the French capital in elegance. Never has there been a better reason to upgrade.
By Harry Seymour
Eurostar's lounges are accessible to passengers travelling in Business Premier and Carte Blanche club members with sufficient qualifying miles. Eurostar operates up to 19 daily services from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare Du Nord with one-way Business Premier fares costing £245; one-way economy fares cost from £29 (eurostar.com; 03432 186 186).