Category Archives: Speaking of Design

Designer Erwan Bouroullec on the Magic of Wrought Iron

AUGUST 15, 2015
The French designer provides food for thought on the new wrought-iron collection he and his brother, Ronan, designed for Magis.



Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec’s new Officina collection for Magis includes chairs, stools, and tables made with wrought-iron frames, marking the brothers’ first experimentation with the material. In this age-old technique, iron is hammered into shape by hand. Courtesy of Magis

Since 1999, brothers Erwan and Rowan Bouroullec have run an independent practice from their Paris-based studio, working with furniture brands such as VitraKvadrat, and Cappellini. This year, they launched the Officina collection with Magis, using wrought iron to achieve the modern, elegantly functional pieces for which they are known. We caught up with Erwan at the Milan Furniture Fair to get his thoughts on the use of an ancient technique for a contemporary collection, and how production choices hold the power  to shape the industry.

How did you first approach the idea of using a traditional method for a contemporary line?

If you compare it to cooking, to play with wrought iron is just like having an incredible fish—a beautiful one, like whole tuna. You shouldn’t do anything. You should just slice it perfectly and maybe bring just a little something. Because in the end, design techniques are like a flavor or seasoning. In the case of wrought iron, you’ve got a really, really rare flavor.

How do you feel it contrasts with more common methods or materials, like aluminum or powder-coated metals?

It’s so strong because it’s filled with history, first. Then also, it’s filled with some incredibly primal steps: You see it, hammer it, heat it—fire, melt, poof! Hammer it into shape, and that’s it. As soon as we were confronted with it, it posed a big dilemma. It really took us a while to achieve such simplicity.

How do you feel this fits into your trajectory of work as a designer?

One responsibility that I understand, more and more, is that in the end, we work with companies, and those companies are partially in danger. Most of them are European, producing locally in Europe, so we have to think carefully when we do things. Now, with globalization and the movement of everything, design has to be much better every time. You need to find some clue— a reason—to resist local production.

Have you found there are others that share your desire for a more organic way of producing things?

I’m happy I’m working with some producers that all have high expectations for good design. So, they’ve got different production techniques. Some of them are more industrial, some of them are less, but at least something that they all share is that if you do something, it has to be worth doing it.


The Officina collection offers a range of material options, including steel, tempered glass, American walnut, Carrara marble, Ardesia slate, and leather. Shown here are the chair and table with galvanized, gray metallized frames. Courtesy of Magis


To you, what makes it worth it?

One of the biggest considerations behind furniture is to make pieces that are able to travel time. If you look at all the production of the ’90s and the design, a lot of things were not able to do that. They were getting old instantly, and they were getting old by their visual language, and also by their function. They were just not necessary. This is one of the worst things you can do for furniture. They have to be able to be kind of non-temporal. In this regard, I think we work with the right partners.

Five Drapery Hardware Mistakes to Avoid

What are the most common drapery hardware mistakes made when it comes to designing, choosing or specifying drapery hardware?  We are often asked this question, so we have compiled a list of  drapery hardware no-no’s  and added some of our best tips and tricks to avoid them. You’ll come away with great solutions for your upcoming projects.

#1 Choosing the Wrong Hardware

Usually its because you or the client is trying to save money. Don’t do it! Don’t give the client a choice- give them all the reasons why they must choose your recommendation. (Sometimes that means giving them the worst case scenario). Whether you are making the wrong hardware choice for the application- from telescoping rods to be drawn to lightweight traverse rods for draperies with multiple widths- or choosing the wrong hardware style for the drapery fabric, design or the room; it’s critical to match the drapery hardware to the window treatment design.

They are basically 2 types of drapery hardware. Basic goods that are operable and non operable called white goods and decorative hardware- both operable and non operable.

Top 10 Mistakes (2)

Drapery hardware can also be categorized as ready-made; semi-custom and custom. Ready-Made hardware is pre packaged and sold at retailers. The rods usually are telescoping and can’t be bent or bowed. Ready -made collections have limited accessories and is your most economical choice. Semi-custom hardware is bulk packaged/ pre packaged and the rods are sold in pre-determined lengths- 4’ 6’ 12’. Finials and rings are sold separately. Semi-custom hardware also has limited accessories. Custom drapery hardware is one -off production; meaning no waste. It is easier to install because it is made specifically to your measures and there is less chance for error. Custom hardware is truly personal; each job is finished specifically to your specs so there are no lot variations.


#2 Making the Hardware an After Thought


A strap and a Command strip doesn’t replace a bracket.


Plumbing fixtures should not be part of your sample pack.

The window treatments are the main event, but the drapery hardware is important, too. Don’t forget to give ample consideration to the hardware. Pay attention to how heavy the curtains are, sometimes you may need a rod with extra support or added hardware. Also, think about the style of the rod and finial and how it goes with the curtain style. The narrower or smaller your window, the thinner the rod can be. Larger and wider windows will require heftier rods.

#3 Mounting the Hardware in the Wrong Place


Unfortunately this is not a good look- the decorative hardware is mounted too high

It’s so important to know the window and window treatment footprint. (i.e. will it fit above the frame and below the crown). Telling your installer to “hang it as high as possible” doesn’t cut it. Here are some questions to ask yourself BEFORE measuring and before showing your decorative hardware options to your client.

  • Will this treatment function or not or is it limited functionality? If so, which direction will it draw?
  • How much area do you want to cover?
  • Where are you going to mount it?
  • How many layers are you doing?
  • How far out will you or can you come with the layers?
  • Will the hardware you choose work at ceiling?



Lovely treatment where all things have been taken into consideration.

Rule of thumb is to mount the rod or board up a minimum of 4”-8” above top of trim if not mounting at the ceiling. This is done so the drapery covers the trim when closed, and the underpinnings don’t show outside. Standard drapery brackets need a minimum of 1-3/4” to mount above trim, so you should be mounting up at least 2” up from the frame NEVER on the frame.


Mount hardware are the same height to eliminate sight lines.

Avoid common drapery hardware mistakes:

v  Always check to see if there is enough room for rod above and finials on the side.

v  Ceiling mounts- I like to start at the ceiling and work down. Keep in mind, finial height and ring clearance. Top treatments should be mounted at ceiling when draperies go to floor.

v  Windows or doors at different heights in a room should have treatments mounted using the height of highest window as a guideline.

v  Mount directly below wide crown molding.

“Many designers don’t understand that to properly determine FL you need to either have the hardware in hand or that you need very detailed specs about the hardware. Even many wholesale suppliers don’t understand all the information that we require.”~ Angela Schreiber



#4 Measuring Incorrectly


The first thing you should do is measure your windows and make adjustments depending on how you want to hang the window treatments. It will save you another trip to the store if your curtains and rods are the right size. First consider the window.  Second, Consider the space around the window. Are there security systems? Window centered on wall? Obstructions? Are the floors and ceilings are parallel? The bottom line-Is there space to do what you want to do? Third, consider the room it’s in. Is your design intent congruent with the room it will be in?

#5 Not Figuring How Much Your Treatment Weighs

As a designer you must know the weight limitations of each track to be used. For example, a well known manufacturer’s smooth Designer Metal rod will only hold .9 lbs per foot and the fluted version only holds 1.5 lbs per foot. This means an 8′ wide window drapery cannot weigh more than 7.2 lbs or 12 lbs.


There are two things you need to figure to make sure you have the right rod for the right treatment. First, check with your drapery hardware manufacturer to find out how much weight the rod you are considering holds per linear foot. Next, figure your drapery  or treatment weight using the formulas below.

Multiply total yardage by one of the following:

  • Regular Drapery fabric + lining:  ¾ lb. – 1 lb. per yard
  • Regular Drapery fabric + Blackout lining: 1 lb. – 1.25 lbs. per yard
  • Regular Drapery fabric + Blackout + interlining: 1.5 lb.- 1.7 lbs.  per yard


How much will your rod hold?

For more tips and tricks about selling and specifying drapery hardware heck out our complimentary monthly webinars or watch them on demand HERE. 


Take it Outside: Outdoor Decor Ideas

orion outdoor

Can you believe it- the official start of the summer season is only days away. Now certainly is the time to think al fresco.  Think summer and refresh and renew those underused outdoor spaces with these outdoor decor ideas.

Take it Outside

Bring your indoor style outside. Here’s some inspiration to get you started:

Outdoor Draperies: Create intimate spaces within the yard, frame a beautiful view or block one if you feel as though you’re on stage every time you walk outside.


This is a perfect example of bringing your style outside. Scalloped valance and tiedback draperies crave out a dramatic back entry.



e07c052b7b58Whether you choose grommets, pleats or tab tops for your outdoor drapery heading; you need the correct hardware to hang it from.



Who says you can only do draperies in the back yard?

Get Creative: Do you want a frig or bar to make entertaining easy-  peasy? Think summer kitchen. Wish that you had an extra bath to wash off those sandy or dirty feet before you come into the house? Think outdoor shower.

0706_sunset_shower_3l art gray

Our Italian or Iron Art collections can be custom bent to your specs; turning an outdoor faucet into your own private shower or hang one of our custom bent poles from a tree to craft a secluded sanctuary.




Need shade? Use architectural track with cubicle carriers run lengthwise across the space to be covered and fabricate a flat Roman shade with pockets that hold rods . Attach to the carriers to slide the shade easily when needed.

Outdoor Design Tips


Scale the Space: One enormous couch in an area designed for a table and chairs will probably end up being a traffic hazard. Make sure that the furnishings you choose for your patio keep the space open and easy to move around in.


Proportion Rule #1- Height Reigns Supreme.

Keep It All-Weather: Keep your patio looking good for longer than a season or two by choosing soft furnishings that are built to last outdoors. Choose cushion fills that repel moisture and resist mildew, and don’t forget fabrics that are  UV-protected. Sunbrella, Bella Dura and perrennials are a few brands to source. Finally no matter how much outdoor resistant your fabrics and materials are don’t fail to also choose the right hardware. Orion outdoor drapery hardware is first powder coated, then hand painted in the finish of your choice. The final step is an outdoor sealant, giving the best protection against Mother Nature. The outdoor finishing process is applied to rods, brackets and rings, but can also be applied to our accessories like batons and tiebacks, and even bent or arched rods.




Outdoor spaces bring another set of challenges. Draperies and shades need tiedowns or weights to stay in place from wind and weather.  Use this tip from My Crazy Good Life– You’ll need to purchase the following:

  • Large Plastic grommets
  • Bungee Balls
  • D Rings

Attach the plastic grommets to the hem and bungi to a “D” ring screwed into deck or patio.


Available on Amazon


Build in function: Patios and decks are great relaxing living spaces, but unless you plan ahead and add function; Mother Nature can sweep in as an uninvited guest, ruining your day or evening outdoors with high temperatures or rain. So, consider adding a retractable awning or umbrella to your outdoor  space.  You’ll have several options depending on your budget and the size of your patio. Such as:

•Retractable awning: This modern shelter allows you to shade your porch and keep it dry during a storm, but you can also retract it to enjoy the sun’s rays. Motorization is also available for hard to reach or specialty installations.

•Sail shades: They’re flexible enough that you can attach them to anything from the side of a house to a tree, and they come in many sizes, shapes and colors to fit any budget and style.

•Umbrella: This back-porch classic is both decorative and functional.


Add Personality

Outdoor living should appeal to the senses and help relax and refresh you. When dealing with outdoor spaces, texture is your friend. Lattice work, pots made of unusual materials like hypertufa, bamboo curtains and wrought iron all help create an interesting mood.

wanda iron inspirationUse Orion’s Crown or Burgundy collection as vine trainers.

Lavish color is also always an enhancement to outdoor spaces.  If you’re dealing with a plain Jane environment, brighten it up with painted benches and some colorful throw pillows.



Who knew that with  2 pallets and some rope could create this endearing outdoor swing.


Dreaming of an exotic vacation? Create an outdoor space that evokes your fantasy place.

Images via My Crazy Good Life, Wanda Suitt Horton, House beautiful, Pinterest, Orion Ornamental Iron, DIY Creative Ideas.

Tech for the Home

Technologies enable us to control and customize all aspects of our home from lighting to security, creating an ideal environment to live. There are a slew of products, devices and appliances that improve our daily lives and help us make better decisions about everything from to do with our homes. Here’s a few of our favorite new products coming to market.


Activity tracking is a hot tech topic, but you have to be up to access it. So how do you monitor when you’re asleep? Luna is a smart mattress cover that integrates personal tracking and wearable technology with the smart home experience and serves as a hub for a connected home- connecting to devices such as smart lights, thermostats, locks, and even coffee machines.

The number one reason for insomnia, according to Luna is a cluttered mind and mental worries, so they took that out of the equation by making sure your home is taken care of. Luna’s Customer Discovery team also found that people repeat about four to six activities every night before going to bed. Activities such as locking doors, turning off the light, and setting the alarm could all be automated. So they’ve partnered with Lockitron, Beep, Emberlight, and Nest, to make this a reality.


MYQ Garage

A steady stream of products are coming to market following the success of Nest and the idea to redesign common household products and make them seamlessly functional as well as beautiful. Now comes MyQ Garage. The MyQ Garage allows you to control and monitor your garage door from anywhere, at any time. Regardless of manufacturer, the MyQ Garage works with the majority of garage door openers manufactured after 1993. You can:

•Control your garage door and your house lights using your smartphone

•Get notified if your garage door opens or if you forgot to close your garage door

•Know if your garage door opened while you were away

MyQ Garage_zoom

LED Closet rods.

Genius! This is one of those simple ideas that you say” Why didn’t I think of that?” They are the ultimate solution to dark closets, The metal clothing rods are equipped with built in LED bulbs, which shine down on your wardrobe.

LED closet rod




Can your art sing? Tell stories? Or bring the artist into your home? Ours can. Soundwall is part of the Connected Art movement- the evolution of the canvas to become part of the modern, connected world. Soundwall is a beautiful work of art – (with no computer screen) – that is also a wireless speaker. Special audio exciters are mounted to the back of each piece that cause the surface of the artwork to vibrate, similar to a cymbal or guitar string. Unlike traditional cone speakers which have crossovers and “sweet spots,” Soundwall fills the room evenly with a consistently clear, natural, articulate sound. The company currently offers limited-editions like a Bruce Springsteen print that features an exclusive audio interview with the photographer and a Springsteen playlist he curated himself.


The Talking Heads by Richard Corman includes a 8-song playlist of the Talking Heads curated for this image and a 35-minute interview with Richard Corman about his photography and creating this historic photograph.


KoolBlack promises to make the task of controlling the sun’s rays a little easier. Developed by Mermet, KoolBlack technology enhances heat management by reflecting light in the near-infrared spectrum, which represents over half the heat energy contained in solar radiation. Before its introduction, shading systems required light-colored or metalized fabrics to optimize control of heat gain; dark E-Screen fabrics with KoolBlack can provide up to a 25 percent improvement in Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), while still providing clear views through the shade and superior exterior aesthetics—as well as lower fabric costs in many cases. How’s that for progress?


Smart Vent

Heating vents are another unsexy home accessory to get “smart. “ Smart Vent is new high-tech option that lets you control each room individually The Keen Home smart vent keeps you from wasting energy—and money—on areas of your house that don’t need as much attention. It retrofits into existing air vents, then wirelessly connects to your home network. The vents communicate with each other to regulate airflow in rooms too hot, too cold or not in use for most of the day.

CES smart vent

Sony Life Space UX smart home concept

It actually debuted at last year’s show, but Sony’s Life Space UX gets a big upgrade at CES 2015. This sooo much more than internet-connected power outlets. The Life Space makes the smart home look good. It starts with the Symphonic light, an elegant but hip LED-bulb speaker, video projectors that turn walls into screens, and an interactive tabletop- LOVE!. I’m not quite sure how it all works , but it’s very sci-fi cool. If you won’t buy into a smart home until you can actually see the ideas and concepts as products, then Life Space is for you.



Whirlpool Kitchen of the Future

From CES- Whirlpool put together an innovative “kitchen of the future” concept where countertops act like touchscreens. You’ll be able to put a pot or skillet anywhere on the surface, which will detect it and start heating up. It integrates with video conferencing and can show alerts from your networks, too. But wait- don’t know what to cook tonight? The kitchen will recommend recipes based on ingredients you already have thanks to “smart vessels” i.e. food containers that keep track of the freshness and weight of what’s inside them.




DIY Trends You Should Know About

Darby Smart, DIY website extraordinaire, just released its Spring  DIY Trend Report and it caught our eye. Why you ask? Well, for starters  total DIY sales is predicted to be  338.3 billion dollars in 2015. We know there is a thriving and market out there of DIYers and crafters and as design entrepreneurs we want to reach that market.

Second, we live in an era where the consumer is empowered and encouraged to design their own products to renovate, to repurpose castoffs into functional and creative art, and even design and construct personalized objects out of recycled materials. The appeal of the DIY lifestyle is not just about frugality or politics: it’s about a deeper connection with authentic craftsmanship and the heart of the artisan through the consumer co- creating. Last, as Makers ourselves, Orion is inspired by other Makers and Creatives. We love to see what they are getting jazzed about . So here’s a DIY take on what trends will be created and constructed this Spring.  See how DIY trends can inspire your decorative drapery hardware choices. I am a bit obsessed with Lovely Lace. Wouldn’t decorative drapery poles look stunning with a lace overlay?  Pearl studded rings?  Which one is your favorite?

Prim and Pearl



 Lovely Lace


Get Personalpersonal-11



State of Mind


We’re Looking for Drapery Hardware Projects

SandyKozar- drapery hardware

Design by Sandy Kozar

Calling All Drapery Designers!

Have you specified Orion drapery hardware products in a recent proposal? Used our finials, drapery rods or accessories in an installation? Designed a dramatic installation or motorized system?

Any or all of the above are EXACTLY what we’re looking for our Designer’s Pride gallery.  We want to promote those of you making waves in the luxury window fashion market. If you have a project you would like to submit, simply go to   fill out the short form and log in to upload your photos.PLUS, if we use your photography in any of our marketing we’ll send you a 10% off coupon toward your next purchase. Questions? Send us an email.

Bohemia - drapery hardware

Design by Jeannine Sottile

Sneak Peek at Design Arts


We are launching our new Design Arts Collection at IWCE 2015. We so excited; we can’t keep it under wraps any longer. Join us Thursday December 11, 2014 at 1pm EST/ 12pmCST and 10am PST to get a sneak peek at our new Design Arts Collection of drapery poles, finials, rings and more.

Window Trends: What Your Windows Will be Wearing in 2015


What Your Windows Will be Wearing in 2015?

Our October Design Series Webinar, What Your Windows Will be Wearing in 2015 is now available. Click HERE to view it at your convenience. Find out what your clients will be asking for. Will it be more Roman shades?  Swags and cascades? Priscillas?



The Residence: Design in the Sky

We often talk to our peers about creating a unique, exclusive design experience, about delivering a personal and bespoke product that reflects their lifestyle and says” luxury”. There isn’t a better example of all of this than –The Residence by Etihad Airlines. With a goal to transform how we see air travel, Ethihad Airlines developed The Residence as the ultimate in high-end luxury travel.

Created by leading interior designers and hospitality experts, who understand the sophistication expected by the private traveler and The Residence is designed as a couples retreat in an Airbus 380. You’ll be greeted by your butler and your private chef will prepare anything.


The Residence is the only three room suite in the sky- a living room, ensuite bath and bedroom. you ask for.


The bedroom in The Residence is decorated with delicate fabrics and furnished with natural fiber mattress double bed, Egyptian cotton sheets and choice of pillows. Who doesn’t want to wake up to breakfast in bed above the clouds.



The living room has a luxurious Poltrona Frau leather double-seat sofa with ottoman, two dining tables, chilled drinks cabinet and 32-inch flat screen TV.


A hallway leads to a bath complete with shower, custom toiletries and bathrobe.

You can book The Residence on flights from Abu Dhabi to London starting in December 2014. for about $20,000. While you are waiting for take-off, there is a communal space known as The Lobby, a bar and lounge with a semi-circular leather sofa, a marquetry table and large TV screen