Category Archives: The Makers and Artisans

Iron Art Inspiration


Industry Garden Collection by Studio Job

We’re always on the lookout for iron art inspiration – we knew we had found it when we saw Studio Job’s new outdoor furniture for Seletti. We’ve admired and followed their work for several years and especially loved their wallpaper collection at Milan last year. This year they turned to garden furniture with The Industry Garden Furniture Collection inspired by motifs pulled from their archives (very much how their wallpaper collection came about). Signature motifs like butterflies and gas masks were used to reinterpret traditional garden furniture into hyper kitschy cast iron outdoor chairs and tables.

“The Industry theme is indeed an icon in our language,” said Studio Job. “It has been used in the most different ways.”

Industry Orion iron art

Cast iron garden furniture popular in the 18th century and looks very much the same today.  Iron garden furniture  evolved from the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s when crews of skilled artisans and entire production facilities produced chairs, settees, sofas, love seats and more on a mass scale for both indoor and outdoor use. Cast iron became popular in America for use in garden furniture in the 1830s and 1840s. Cast iron and wrought iron patio furniture was initially painted green, brown and grey, but moved to white during the 19th century; modern cast or wrought iron patio furniture is typically painted black.*


Antique Garden Bench

These early manufacturers relied heavily on Rocco Revival designs, featuring rustic and natural themes such as grape-and-leaf motifs, intricate piercework, flower-and-scroll crests, floral garlands, curled handholds and much more. Designers also incorporated Renaissance Revival and Neoclassical motifs such as columns and lyres, creating pieces that offered antique ornamentation and vintage style.  This style was quite appropriate, since this furniture was initially placed in cemeteries; the old-world influence continued into the late 1800s as the use moved towards the home. Studio Job has turned it on its ear, replacing the perforated swirling patterns used on the furniture’s  flat surfaces with garden related imagery like butterflies and flowers.

Cast Iron vs. Wrought Iron

Cast iron is one of the oldest ferrous metals used in construction and outdoor ornament. Its composition is primarily iron (Fe), carbon (C) and silicon (Si). Cast iron is the most traditional form, and it is easy to cast but can’t be forged or worked (wrought) mechanically in either a hot or cold form. Historically, cast iron has been made by heating iron ore in a blast furnace along with coke and limestone. This process deoxidizes the ore and drives out any impurities, producing molten iron. It is then poured into molds of a desired shape (garden furniture) and allowed to cool and crystallize. Today cast garden furniture is usually made out of aluminum instead of iron.

Today modern products made from wrought iron are actually made from mild steel, and are called wrought iron because they are still worked (wrought) by hand. While modern wrought iron still utilizes “iron” or “mild steel”, modern cast products typically involve aluminum, with “iron” or “mild steel” being reserved strictly for wrought products. Orion uses both the wrought iron and cast methods for our line of iron drapery hardware. Our poles, rods, rings and accessories are wrought and our finials  are cast.

wrought iron art

Orion iron art 266Vienna_7064

Orion iron art Burgundy Collection

Based in Antwerp and the Netherlands, Studio Job, a design duo founded over a decade ago by Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, produces one-off pieces of sculptural furniture that share little with the reigning aesthetic of minimalism and spareness. Their cast bronze works—tables whose surfaces are models of inverted cathedrals, lamps shamed like the Eiffel Tower—are laser cut for minute detailing and exquisite surface texture. Often described as “neo-gothic,” Studio Job’s pieces are fanciful without being kitschy.





*Dictionary of Furniture by Charles Boyce (Owl Books; Henry Holt and Company; 1985


Martha Stewart American Made Awards

Martha Stewart - American Made 2014 - Nominee Badge

We are so excited to announce that we have been nominated for the 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Awards in the Design category. Now the real work begins and we need your help!

Between now and September 8th, Judges in the Design category will be choosing 800 Finalists. The judges’ criteria will be based on innovativeness, creativity, originality, workmanship, overall aesthetic, and embodiment of the American Made theme. But that’s not our only chance to be a finalist; there are 200 wild card finalist spots and  we’re activating our social network and encouraging our fans to help our chances by visiting  our Nominee profile and share it on Facebook or Twitter.  Please help us out- share our Iron Art by Orion Nominee Profile.


As some of you might know… Orion was started in 1983 out of the back of a pick up truck by Sunil and Atul Patel.

It is a true Made- in- America story that they are proud to share and are still fabricating 100% of all their hardware right here in the U.S.

CRW_6527     orion american made award painting ring

All our decorative drapery hardware is hand finished. Here our artisans are silver leafing and painting poles and rings.

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Made in The USA : Decorative Drapery Hardware

Picture2Consumer Currents Impacting Decorative Drapery Hardware

Trendspotting requires anticipating overlapping levels of influence from the Long term (10 years) that looks at the possible evolutions in lifestyle and technology and Mid-term (5 years) that looks at socio-cultural developments to the short term (2 years) that considers contemporary trend-setters– individuals, processes, groups, and events. What is ordinarily referred to as “trends” are usually composites of various factors, influences and behaviors. Most importantly, consumer behaviors are based on changing consumer values and desires. These constantly shifting influences form the basis of our design trends. Interior style trends are nothing more than visual interpretations of core consumer behavior trends. “Made in America” is one of those consumer behaviors manifesting into home décor trends including decorative drapery hardware.


Whether out of a sense of patriotism, a desire to help the American economy or the belief that U.S.-made products are of better quality, consumers increasingly want to see a “Made in the USA” sticker on the items they buy. Retailers and manufacturers are happily responding.  Last year, General Electric began making some of its water heaters and refrigerators at U.S. factories. Wal-Mart announced plans in April to buy an additional $50 billion of American-made products over the next decade, and Orion is fabricating decorative drapery hardware 100% in the U.S. . “Made in Americ”a once embodied ruggedness and a kind of strait-laced patriotism, but recently it has morphed into a symbol of artisanal design and environmental sustainability. Fueled by a renewed enthusiasm for items sourced and produced in the U.S this locavore-tinged version of Made in America is gaining steam. There is even a startup website selling only American made goods. Dave Schiff, the founder of Made Collection, believes that the Made in the USA trend has acquired a cachet among consumers and the trend is a beacon for old school craftsmanship and luxury. Americana chic is going mainstream.

artisanal label idea doe blog or website

There is a shift in our culture where creative entrepreneurs are defining a new American economy. All across the U.S., people are choosing Main Street over mini-malls—supporting the local and the handmade. Makers are sparking this change by taking a leap, banking on their creativity and craftsmanship, and living their version of the American dream.


At Orion, our team of designers, skilled artisans, and crafts persons create a wide range of decorative drapery hardware and accessories in over 50 beautiful finishes. We’re especially delighted to work with you on projects that require custom design, custom parts, or a one-time fabrication task. That’s because from idea, to manufacture, to hand-painting, it’s all done at Orion, by Orion, just for you. We are always proud to say “Made in the USA”.

We’re WCMA Award Winners!

At Orion, we have a strong reputation for winning all sorts of industry awards. This year we’re pleased to announce we’re a WCMA award winner again  for three product innovations:
3D Drapery Hardware

3D wcma award winner
3D Drapery Hardware has won ADEX’s 2014 Silver Award for Design Excellence. It has also won WCMA’s 2012 Award for Most Innovative Overall Concept. 3D Drapery Hardware allows you to have the finial in front of the rod. This system is great for tight areas where you may not be able to fit the finial otherwise. Finials can also be manually adjusted to be above or below the rod to enhance the window covering presentation. Nearly all of Orion’s finials are available for use with the 3D system. Rods are 1” diameter in either round hollow smooth (Iron and Italian) or hammered styles (Iron only). Choose from 35 Iron Art™ finishes, 5 Italian finishes, or your own custom finish.
Bohemia Crystal on Wood

BohemiaOnWood wcma award winner
Some of you have requested this, and now we’ve developed it! Our beautiful Bohemia Crystals on wood have won WCMA’s 2014 Best Style Concept Award. 14 finial designs fit 1-3/8”, 2” and 2-1/4” wood poles, while two end cap designs fit 1-3/8” wood poles. A finished metal collar creates a transition between the pole and finial, and brings out the sparkle in the crystal. We offer smooth, fluted or rope style poles in 11 gorgeous Wood Art™ and 35 Iron Art™ finishes. Below is a list of Bohemia Crystals available on wood.

Deco Lite Traversing System

DecoLite wcma award winner
Our latest product development is Deco Lite Traversing – a lightweight, contemporary traversing system that creates a sleek and modern look with its crisp straight lines. It has won WCMA’s 2014 Best Style Concept – Honorable Mention Award. Deco Lite Traversing can be finished in our 6 Italian or 35 Iron Art™ finishes, and can be used with both manual or Somfy motorized traversing options. Look for product launch information in the next few months!


Iron Inspiration

orion iron inspiration

I have been at Brimfield this week. Brimfield, arguably the country’s largest antique show and flea, was all I expected and more. You would think that being held in western Mass. that you’d see a lot of traditional and Early Americana, but I was struck by the amount of industrial salvage and upcycled pieces. Nothing like spotting a trend and capitalizing on it.

As I walked the 21 shows- within- a- show down the main street of Brimfield, I got loads of iron inspiration.


Who says drapery rods have to go on windows? Not only could they be used to create the shelving unit shown above and the picture gallery below, but why not towel bars in the bath? Shower curtain rods?


There were dozens of tents hat had lamp parts, chandelier fittings, serveware embossings and loads of bits and pieces that could be used to create crown pieces, finials, and brackets or the cornices below.


The common thread here is that no matter what kind of taste you have- vintage chic, traditional with a twist, formal French- custom drapery hardware can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. If you are looking for a partner in customization, visit our website to see that we can help you with.