Italian consultancy beats UK groups to Eurostar job

Italian design group Pininfarina has beaten Seymour Powell to scoop the Eurostar refurbishment contract.

Eurostar has briefed the car designer and coach builder to come up with a new interiors concept for the train, previously designed by Philippe Starck in 2004.

The design group will also create a new external livery for the fleet of 28 trains.

Pininarina is responsible for the interiors and exteriors of Italy’s high-speed trains as well as rolling stock for Swiss, Danish and Norwegian railways.

Seymour Powell is understood to have been on the final shortlist along with one or two other groups beside Pininfarina, as revealed last month in Design Week. Priestman Goode, Prospect Design, Tangerine and Design Connect were also in the running at an earlier stage of the competition.

Several groups described the six-month tender process as ‘tortuous’, while Prospect Design founder Richard Eisermann called it ‘abominable’.

The new designs will launch in time for 2012, by which time other rail operators will be allowed to compete with Eurostar by running high-speed services through the Channel Tunnel.

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