Hello! My name is Yuko Nishikawa and I am a Brooklyn-based designer and ceramic artist who aims to find the mystery and beauty in everyday lives, and to communicate these discoveries through my work. "Piku piku" is a Japanese onomatopoeia that describes involuntary movements caused by unexpected contact. I want my work to make you feel piku piku, tickling something deep down inside you. Using ceramic as a main medium, I make sculptural ceramic lighting, art objects, accessories, vases, and tableware. I also run a monthly talk event, Salon at Forest, a gathering and conversation of creative minds in my studio.
I was raised in a peaceful beach-town an hour south of Tokyo in a family where creating with hands was part of everyday life. I moved to Philadelphia, and then to NY when I was 18, wanting to explore a new culture. Fascinated by how space affects people's behaviors and moods, I studied Interior Design at Fashion Institute of Technology and worked for some of the NYC's leading interior design studios such as Clodagh, Bilhuber and Alexandra Champalimaud. Over the next few years, I began to focus on prototyping and everyday functional objects such as chairs and table lamps. Then, for nearly a decade, I designed furniture and lighting for the luxury home furnishing company Donghia; two of these designs won Interior Design Magazine's Best of Year Awards.
Always working on personal projects, I encountered clay, a material that opened up wider expressions and experiments for me. At first, bowls and then vases, which lead me to develop artisan collections for Calvin Klein Home and Anthropologie. Then in 2017, I took a sabbatical to work on collaborations for retail and hospitality clients, including Halifax, a restaurant in W Hotel Hoboken, and The James New York, all the while exhibiting artwork and installations through galleries and retailers in Milan, New York, and New Jersey. In 2018, I established a design and art company specializing in sculptural lighting and installations. I currently work in my studio in the industrial area in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where furnishing like work benches, counters and modular shelves were hand-built by my friends and me, utilizing demolished materials found in the building. I named this studio Forest: a place where things grow and things fall feed to create new lives, and where we wonder and discover something new.
Photography: Nico Schinco (portrait) & Yuko Nishikawa (studio)