Wallpaper's future thirty show, currently on display in Rotterdam's Chabot Museum until 10 January 2010, owed a great deal to the good people at Land Rover. Tasked with taking 30 precisely engineered architectural models to the city's Chabot Museum, with three wallpaper staffers and a host of equipment along for the ride, the Range Rover Sport was a highly suitable steed. In HSE trim this hefty diesel workhorse was as happy humming along British A-roads as it was straddling the tramlines in Rotterdam's city centre.
When the original Range Rover debuted in 1970 it effectively re-wrote the rules of how an off-road vehicle should look and feel, turning an effective agricultural tool into a plaything of the town and country set. That ethos has pervaded Range Rovers ever since, right up to the third generation model (introduced in 2002 and soon to be replaced). In 2005, the company rolled out the Sport, a slightly sleeker re-working of its bluff-fronted sibling, inspired by an outlandish concept car, the Stormer, shown the previous year.
From the outset, the car was pitched against some tough competition, as carmakers like Audi and Porsche decided to put the 'Sport' back into SUV with new models like the Q7 and the Cayenne. While the HSE might not have the straight line performance of its rivals (for that you'll need the supercharged V8 model), it remains an unrivalled off-road drive, a Land Rover core value that the company is thankfully unwilling to dispense with. A host of dedicated off-road equipment - dubbed 'Terrain Response' - are neatly integrated into a redesigned dashboard, making this car a literal go-anywhere machine.
Admittedly, the road to Rotterdam was not pitted with potholes, muddy tracks or unyielding slopes. But true to original Range Rover values, the Sport combines ability with comfort. We certainly weren't lacking in useful equipment, from the slick satnav system that took the car from London to the doorstep of the Chabot Museum without missing a beat, to the small army of cameras that allow you to position and park the hefty vehicle with pinpoint accuracy (useful when reversing up to a masterpiece of Modernist architecture). The optional rear-seat entertainment package threw in a pair of flat screen TVs and the iPod compatible sound system helped banish the already distant road noise to a whisper.
For 2010, Land Rover has introduced a host of advances, large and small, to its entire model range, including new engines and better efficiency - the V6 powerplant at the heart of our Sport delivered us to Holland and back on less than a tank of diesel, an impressive achievement. Land Rover continues to hone the sharp edges on its product range, introducing new technology to blunt the inevitable carbon footprint created by such necessarily large cars. Next year sees the debut of the promised 'small' Land Rover, while there are also hybrid powertrains, lightweight bodyshells and other, more closely-guarded, technologies, in the works.