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‘Simon’ is a living museum piece created for Huis van Gijn in Dordrecht.

The museum is the house of the banker and collector Simon van Gijn who lived there from 1864 until his death in 1922.

Van Gijn left the house and most of his collections to the Old Dordrecht Society. His wish was for the collections to be made publicly accessible and for his home to be converted into a museum, maintaining the interior in its original state as much as possible.

Inspired by the museum’s past I wanted the house to start living and breathing again. One of Simon van Gijn’s quotes, ‘ The present is a mirror of the past’, served as my inspiration.

The beautiful characteristic house is breathing past life that one, in some way, would like to catch and make tangible.

By making use of sourdough this atmosphere can literally be caught and again dispersed in odour by baking it.

Leaven ‘feeds’, after all, with the molecules in the air and therefore is always specific to the place where it is made.

So the design for Huis van Gijn turned out to be a cake. The base of this cake is sourdoughleaven, inspired by the famous Herman friendship cake.

Of course, this cake is called Simon, after the late Simon van Gijn. Simon is a cake that needs to be taken care of just like any other living organism and to be shared with friends.

The recipe book by Cornelia Johanna van Gijn- Hooghwinkel, the mother of Gijn, served as inspiration for the specific flavour.

Based on the beautiful copper objects hanging in the kitchen of the museum I designed a specific copper mould for cake Simon. Copper is a soft material and every impression that is made leaves a trace. In this way, the objects are, not only because their shiny appearance, again a mirror of the past.


exhibition, Food, Installation, Product

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