Artist-designer Yukiko Nagai was born in Niigata, Japan, in 1981. She studied environmental landscape design at Tama Art University, graduating with her Bachelor’s degree in 2005. She went on to study mosaic techniques in Italy at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Ravenna, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 2009. That same year, Nagai returned to Tokyo, and began experimenting with mosaics. She established her own international studio in 2010 in Tokyo; in 2012, she relocated her practice to Ravenna, Italy.
Nagai’s work plays on established expectations, reinterpreting various materials through marble, glass, and rock fragments. Through the use of mosaic, she creates the appearance and volume of wood and fabrics from unexpected materials; when one touches the work, he or she realizes it is not what it just seemed to be. For example, with Patchwork Chair for Galleria Rossana Orlandi (2013), Nagai places her hard mosaics on top of chairs and stools where upholstery normally appears, mimicking tradition but surprising and enticing viewers to touch her work.
Nagai lives and works in Italy.