Into The Void
Wallpaper|October 2019
Photographer Dan Tobin Smith takes visitors on an immersive journey to the space inside gemstones for London Design Festival.
Tom Seymour

London’s Islington Green is one of the capital’s smartest areas, surrounded by restaurants, bars, design shops and a particularly grand branch of the bookshop Waterstones, set in what was once the Collins Music Hall, a Victorian performance space opened in 1863. The venue seated up to 1,000 people before it was gutted in a fire in 1958. A relic of the music hall still exists, 22m below ground. In 2002, developers planned to relaunch the space as a theatre, but the project was abandoned following a legal dispute and the venue has been closed to the public for the past decade.

That will soon change. As part of this year’s London Design Festival, photographer Dan Tobin Smith, creative studio The Experience Machine and Gemfields, one of the world’s leading suppliers of coloured gemstones, will repurpose the venue with Void, an immersive animation of gemstone inclusions.

We are used to seeing gemstones encased in expensive wedding rings, or high up on billboards, or dripping from the necks of movie stars. It’s sometimes easy to forget just how fascinating these ancient natural phenomena are. ‘It’s the imperfections that make these gems so unique,’ says Tobin Smith. In the world of gemstones, an inclusion refers to the unknown elements that, millions of years ago, became buried and trapped inside the mineral as it hardened and formed; shards of crystal, bubbles of unknown liquid or gas, tiny fractures caused by radioactive material.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine