Off Route 48 in Peconic is Mike Javidi’s studio. The room is practically windowless except for the small bit of light leaking through the glass pane on the door. Everywhere you look is wood. Wood materials, wood workbenches, unfinished exposed wood walls — the workspace of a craftsman. Despite all that, the eye is immediately drawn to three pieces of unfinished furniture Javidi is currently working on.
Hanging from the ceiling, each piece has slats of wood curved in a large teardrop shape so the bottom is flat enough to sit on. They look like a cross between an egg chair and a swing.
It’s called le nid, or the nest for those who don’t speak French, and it is a chair. In the back corner is a completed one. The wood is sealed, and the leather-covered bottom portion acts as a seat. As beautiful and seamless as the nests look now, their inspiration came from another one of Javidi’s works.
“I brought a basket [I made] over to a friend’s house. He said it looked like a swing, so then I made the basket into a swing and then the swing got bigger and then it morphed into this,” Javidi said pointing toward the corner with the finished chair.
When he made the first versions of the nest, Javidi started with a red oak. But his first 15 prototypes all broke from dry-rotted wood.
“The difficulty in this design is that it is unique. There’s nothing to follow,” he said. “Every failure has been a lesson to get me here. It’s the catastrophic failures that have gotten me to this point.”
The trial and error that followed led Javidi to use hickory. The process goes something like this: the wood is surface-planed, cut into little strips and surface planed again. It’s then put into a steam box and bent on a jig to give the wood its curves. After it dries, Javidi glues the whole thing together and finishes assembly.
“The construction of it is similar to boats — really light. The structure is the strength. On its own, it’s weak, but all together it’s very strong,” he said.
Javidi learned his trade at North Bennet Street School in Boston, a vocational school specializing in craftsmanship such as furniture making and carpentry. Before going off on his own, Javidi spent six years at Wooden Boatworks in Greenport, working to restore and build boats.
“The boats were a very valuable teaching lesson, because with furniture it’s planned. There’s a way to do it. There’s a process,” he said. “A boat, you’re dealing with wood and water, so you’re already dealing with an impossible task. It teaches you there’s nothing impossible in fixing or making something.”
Last summer, Javidi decided to leave his job at Wooden Boatworks and go off on his own. And that’s where the chair was born.
“It was a big jump,” he said. “And it was kind of jumping into nowhere.” But the response to the nest has been a positive one.
“People are excited about it. That’s one of the main reasons why I’m driving to refine it and get it all squared away,” Javidi said. “My 96-year-old grandfather said when he walked into my house, ‘If you put that in any room, that’s the only thing you’re looking at.’ That’s a compliment.”
But even so, Javidi still thinks of himself as only a craftsman.
“These pieces are unique, and people say ‘You’re an artist.’ I don’t know how well that sits with me,” he said. “I consider myself a craftsman, but it gives me the opportunity to go to a higher market if I call it art.”
So far, Javidi has only made about six of these unique chairs, but he already is represented by a store in Brooklyn and is looking for more places in Manhattan and locally. The first one, however, is hanging proudly in his home. To see more of his unique work or if you want to purchase a nest, reach out to him through Instagram @michael_javidi.