In 1920 a prominent carpet manufacturer Nicholas Soutzoglou has to leave his home in Esparta, one of many Greek communities of Asia Minor. Having lost everything in the course of the Greek-Turkish War he travels to Greece with an unbroken spirit and an intention to start his life and business anew. He sets up the first carpet factory in 1922 in Spetses and another one in 1924 in Hydra in an abandoned mansion built for a distinguished naval officer at the end of the 18th century.
Soutzoglou Carpet Factory on Hydra
Soutzoglou Carpets maintains its production on the island for over 50 years. Throughout the decades, the factory plays a vital role in reducing unemployment among women on Hydra by providing them with an opportunity to learn the art of weaving from Asia Minor refugees who relocated to Greece. As a result, Hydriot women, previously reliant on income earned by men, begin supplementing their family's earnings by weaving carpets for Soutzoglou. The significance of their work becomes even more pronounced during World War II, when all commercial activities and production on the island come to a halt.
In 1976 Colloredo-Mansfeld family acquires the mansion on Hydra and turns Old Carpet Factory back into a private residence. Born in Athens the same year, Stephan Colloredo-Mansfeld grows up on the island becoming the only true Hydriot in his family.
Old Carpet Factory Recording Studio
Stephan Colloredo-Mansfeld assumes ownership of the estate. Inspired by his childhood on the island and guided by his love for music he converts part of the mansion into a cutting-edge music recording studio. Old Carpet Factory Recording Studio gains international acclaim for its unconventional setting in a remote location, unique acoustics, its extensive list of cult vintage and rare analogue gear.
Art Residency at the Old Carpet Factory
In 2019, curator and photographer Ekaterina Juskowski joins the project and launches the Art Residency at the Old Carpet Factory with the primary objective to promote and document the rich cultural heritage of Hydra. Going beyond its initial purpose, the Art Residency at the Old Carpet Factory also encompasses site-specific commissions that aim to expand the art collection of the Colloredo-Mansfeld estate on Hydra. Furthermore, the residency project actively engages the local community through the #LiveatOCF performances offered free of charge to the island residents and visitors, fostering a sense of inclusivity through shared artistic experiences.
Today, Soutzoglou is a respected name in the international carpet world, with the third generation of the family at the helm. The company operates from its showroom in the centre of Athens in Kolonaki and specializes in both antique and modern handmade carpets and textiles. Some of Greece’s finest homes, including the Maximos Presidential Mansion, are adorned with their handmade rugs.
"The Warp of Time" Art Exhibition
To celebrate 100 years of their shared history Old Carpet Factory Recording Studio and Soutzoglou Carpets will host a site-specific exhibition featuring carpets weaved at the Old Carpet Factory a century ago presented alongside works by contemporary artists. The exhibition will open in June, 2024 during Deste weekend.