Women Series: Nikki Walker and Darya Bing
In early August, Nikki Walker and Darya Bing of Walker & Bing played host to us at Darya's home in East Auckland. A home of character, it boasts a sprawling yard filled with mature fruit trees, a conservatory office with an outlook unto the garden, and an artfully crafted treehouse reminiscent of 'Where the Wild Things Are'. Inside, warm wood paneling and built-ins create a feeling of intimacy, whilst the sculptural work of Darya's husband Gidon Bing and expressive paintings by her father adorn the shelves and walls, providing colour, texture and depth. The light is soft, warmed by the wood.
Greeted by the family cat, we begin in the galley kitchen where Nikki and Darya prepare a simple meal replete with vegetables for us to share at lunch. The table is set with a blue and white gingham tablecloth and a bowl of vibrant oranges. A dried daisy chain created by Darya's daughter frames the window — a precious memory not yet ready to be parted with. The scent of sage and oregano fills the kitchen. As the meal bakes, Darya serves herbal tea made from homegrown herbs in ceramic cups by Gidon alongside Israeli biscuits fragrant with orange zest.
We head down to the conservatory, entering through Gidon's workshop. Here, Nikki and Darya look over hand painted pages at the built-in desk that stretches the length of the conservatory, and discuss upcoming collections. The soft dappled light from the garden outside is contrasted with the strong geometric shadows cast by the angled windows — a beautiful juxtaposition of the natural and man-made. Gidon returns home and sets up at the other end of the desk.
Returning upstairs, we move into the parlour. The light is moody. Nikki and Darya enjoy another cup of herbal tea at the large window overlooking the garden. The overall scene is calming as the organic materials of the interior space converse with the greenery and sky beyond. With our lunch now ready to serve, Nikki and Darya move through the white doors set into the wood panelling to change in the room beyond, then join us at the kitchen table. The galette is served alongside brined black olives from the garden and fresh spinach leaves that gently wilt atop each slice. The meal is moreish and rounds out a beautiful morning spent in the company of inspiring women.
Having first met on an advertising project, Nikki and Darya bonded over a mutual love and appreciation for art, fabric and design. The desire of both women to pursue more personal creative outlets led to lengthy conversations around collaborating on a creative endeavour. With complementary backgrounds in advertising and textile design (Nikki), and fine art and fashion (Darya), they decided that the concept of applying a fine art discipline to multiple textile design projects indulged both their creative and commercial sensibilities. The duo work together on all aspects of Walker & Bing, from initial design and story, to producing the artwork and curating it.
Nikki and Darya's shared connection to fine art strongly informs their design process, which always begins with a hands on approach — ink, paint, watercolour and pencil are applied to paper, allowing for nuanced layering and more organic compositions. The strength of their creative output as Walker & Bing comes down to the place of meeting of their individual references and points of view. Dada, Cubism and Primitivism are noted as sources of inspiration, as is philosophy and human behaviour, both innate and constructed. A common language, however, emerges throughout each of their collections of scarves, sarongs, prints and textiles.
Walker & Bing's latest collection 'Contemporary Roaming' is an ode to life in all its forms. Life as it takes us down all its different pathways and lanes. From a sense of melancholia to the beauty of the unknown, each scarf has its own narrative filled with depth and poetry. The artworks composing 'Contemporary Roaming' are inspired by experiences, both new and historical, merged to create a collection of modern yet timeless patterns reminiscent of both the past and the present and how the two are intertwined.
A Moreish Meal To Make At Home
Adapted by Darya from an Israeli recipe, this simple take on a galette incorporates kumara for a sweet yet earthy flavour. Seasonal vegetables are gently perfumed with the addition of fresh herbs, while feta and pesto add sharpness to this moreish dish. A quick, no-fuss dinner or lunch that's easily adaptable to cater to all, no matter the season.
VIEW THE RECIPE >