Ritz-Carlton magazine: 4 in Studio 07/01/2008
They are world-class entrepreneurs, but artists at heart. They find inspiration in a piece of fabric, a rooftop or an empty stage — wherever a blank canvas exists upon which innovation takes flight. Indeed, when it comes to theater set and costume designer Garance Marneur, weaver and restorer Hayk Oltaci, furniture architect Werner Aisslinger and fashion legend Miuccia Prada, their legacies will not be defined by sales and merchandising. They will instead be remembered for the passion they brought to their craft.
Name: Hayk Oltaci
Where in the world: New York, where his busines, Hayko Fine Rugs and Tapestries, has operated at 857 Lexington Ave. (at 65th Street) for 12 years.
Known for: Celebrating his heritage through sublime rug designs. Oltaci’s showroom is the place where patrons worldwide coming for the finest in authentic rugs. He works closely with museums, private collectors and auction houses such as Christie’s, often over Turkish coffee. Born in Istanbul to Armenian parents, he came to New York City in 1988 with his wife (both of his daughters were born in the U.S.). He learned his craft while living in Strasbourg, France, for 10 years.
Quote: “Above all things, an honorable and forthright relationship is by far the most important thing to me.”
What inspires him: An experience from his youth sparked a lifelong pursuit of excellence, as Oltaci explains: “My grandfather gave me a beautiful Turkish prayer rug from the Konya Ladik region when I was 17. There was a hole in the center of the rug and the selvage end was missing. We knew a repair man and we brought it to him. Three months later, we got it back. My heart was broken; it was horrible what they did to it. They put a patch on the hole and cut off the ends! It looked like a cheap machine-made rug. This rug had been a beautiful work of art, like a great painting. Now it was ruined by bad repair. I knew at that moment I wanted to help save these great works of art from my country.”
Next projects: Oltaci will be conducting classes in the ancient art of rug weaving every month, a way to share his passion with patrons. “Most of our clients are by now old friends — they come back over and over through the years,” he says. “We greatly value these long-term relationships. We hope to meet more new friends and look forward to working with them in the coming years.” (To find out more, go to http://www.meetup.com/rug-weaving/ or call Oltaci’s showroom at 212-717-5400