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  • Writer's pictureVilner

Land Rover Discovery

The officer who became King


Inspiration often comes to us when we are in love. Atanas Vilner always seems to be in love, but not in a certain automaker or a particular car, rather than in love with his job – something which is not very common in this busy world. Passion is seen in every aspect of his job – from the choice of color combination and materials, to the type of upholstery. He just makes what seems boring a desirable dream. Vilner’s projects are always different, no two identical ones, yet you will always recognize his signature. Whether by the delicately sewn stitches on a car roof or by the bold, but on-spot design... Whenever you see a Vilner project, you will always know it’s him behind the work. And to remain indifferent is simply impossible. Another proof of the magic called Vilner is this English gentleman - Range Rover Discovery by Vilner, for whom even the Queen would miss her afternoon tea to enjoy.

It’s the usual busy Friday when Atanas Vilner receives a phone call. The conversation lasts no longer than 5-6 minutes. He hangs up and quickly throws some notes in his book. There's a meeting for next week - the client is eager.

The story of this SUV begins at the moment Vilner hung up that Friday call. Another Monday the car is positioned next to the upholstery counter, where its huge shadow falls alluring on the tools. The owner arrives at the atelier without a clear concept for the final project, but with a specific desire: “I want a change. I want something little, yet noticeably different. I want it to be clear that it is a Vilner project, no second thoughts – i trust you entirely.” The last words are echoing – after all, they are the reason people choose Vilner over any other atelier – they trust Atanas. Trust is everything when it comes to this, you want not just a different design, you want a designed-by-Vilner badge on your car... you close your eyes, and when the project is finally ready you think for a second whether to open them - the excitement of seeing what he did is equivalent to the moment you bought your first car. “Is this really my car?” - pops on your mind, and when you finally realize that the dream has become a reality, you are not really sure who to thank – Vilner, for his beautiful and boundless imagination, or thank yourself for trusting no other, but him...

Atanas makes coffee and sits down with the owner of the Discovery. Unlike the fortune tellers, Vilner doesn’t need to wait for the coffee sludge to float to read his clients’ minds. The client tries to imagine how he would like his car to look like, and wandering in his own thoughts, he shoots random ideas to Vilner, while he makes quick sketches that embody his words. Coffee is almost over and the last sips are preserved for the end, but more work has to be done until then. Atanas leaves his sketchbook in the hands of the client for a minute, and quickly after comes with a beautiful handcrafted mahogany box with wooden samples. “This how i see things: The inside panel of the doors will be redone with natural wood trim, the same material will be used for the central console and the steering wheel.” - says Vilner, handing over the lacquered piece of sample. The story continues: “Alcantara leather on the ceiling and precise stitches on the handles will be made, car visors will also be covered with the same material. We will replace the old black leather on the seats with a lighter colored one and softer, preserving the side profile of the seats clean, and in the middle, the back will sink into three-dimensional cushions achieved by a diamond pattern. And the leather there will be perforated.”

A silence follows the last sentence; the noise of the machines comes to the fore. The last sip of coffee in the cup is already cold. This is the moment of criticism – Vilner makes a pause and waits for the client to share his thoughts on the said. The silence lasts a bit longer than usual, so Vilner starts again: “So, what do you think?” Silence follows again. “Honestly, i am grateful that Range Rover don’t have such an interior option on their menu, otherwise i don’t think i will ever experience such joy and excitement!” - replies eventually the client. Vilner’s heart rate slows down. The project is approved.

The meeting ends with a handshake. Land Rover Discovery will get a new look.

The first and most important work is to take measures – every centimeter of the car is being measured. The makeover starts with applying the wooden trims on the door’s inside panels. Now you don’t need to wait for the adventurous spirit of the model to get you close to the nature. The natural wood so gently fits in the car, as if the other components are built around it. Put a finger over it and an immediate feeling of eternity comes along. Although the owner didn’t wish for every plastic interior surface to be redone with natural materials, the presence of such does not irritate your eyes at all. Yes, it’s strange at first thought – to see an ideal match between synthetic materials and natural ones, but that just the Vilner magic – making the perfect combination between nature and what kills her.

Next comes careful selection of the leather’s color and type. Something soft, yet with heavy character. Should bring a sense of lightness, but also a sense of security - the perfect leather. However, there is a minor problem – the client-approved design of the seat’s pattern has insufficiently large perforation holes for the seat-blowing to work. “We had to change the original project. I sat all night at the atelier, thinking how i can combine the client’s wishes with his needs. The following morning an entirely new design was set up, a resemble of honeycomb, with larger perforated holes.” - tells Vilner. Typical for him, somehow, he always finds inspiration behind the problem. Words such as “It can’t be done” don’t exist in his world.

A month later, at the day of the revival, on the same table, same two cups sit, again with just a last sip left. The owner’s excitement exceeds beyond – just when he lets the three-dimensional pillows on the seats to embrace every fold of his body, and his eyes start gazing at the pattern of the natural wood, and just when he though he figured out the story of the pattern, his head looks up. One touch of the ceiling was enough to ensure him he made the right decision with trusting Vilner.

The handshake from the first meeting grows in to a goodbye hug, while the last coffee sips remain undrunk. It's intentional, albeit subconsciously. The two knew the last sip means an end, and no one would allow that to happen. And how could they!? A new life has just begun... The life of a Land Rover Discovery by Vilner.

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