Origin OB-36+ Review

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Nick Dardalis

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The new Origin OB-36+ Soho Bi-Fold Doors promise a different folding sliding door in the steel look. With ultra slim frames and a stylish Crittall®-inspired design, this new bifold door comes in several opening options whilst being elegant and chic, with the renowned Origin manufacturing quality and guarantee. Here is our review of the Origin OB-36+ Soho bifold door.

Origin OB-36+ Soho
origin ob36 bifold2

The Origin OB-36+ Soho is a new bifold door replicating the classic Crittall® style. Thoughtfully designed, this door is beautiful but can also look fussy. If you love the industrial, Art-Deco, or Heritage style, there are many reasons to choose this door as a bifold, but better options exist if you prefer single doors, French doors, or doors with side panels in the steel look.

Editor's Rating:


  • The reliable Origin brand name, quality and guarantee.
  • Widely available.
  • Excellent door handles.
  • Distinctive and uniquely styled.


  • Looks better from a distance than close up.
  • Limited size options.
  • Expensive.
  • Only one glazing bar size.

We have seen the product in the North of England, London, Hampshire and Buckinghamshire, but being so new it was not possible to photograph the product. Therefore all images shown are by Origin.

Origin OB-36+ Soho – Design and Aesthetic Appeal.

At first glance, the OB-36’s design catches the eye. This door has a thoughtful combination of design elements that go beyond the now-common method of creating a steel-look door by adding horizontal bars to the glass and keeping everything else standard.

Origin has cleverly created a door that does not merely mimic the steel appearance but reinterprets it with a contemporary twist.

line drawing of black ob-36+ soho
Image Credit, Origin Frames Ltd.

Origin OB-36+ Soho has very thin frames overall, attractive styling, and designer door handles that provide an impressive finishing touch.

Made from thermally insulated aluminium and protected by a professionally applied colour finish (painted by Origin’s new coating plant), the doors have a completely new set of frame and door leaf profiles significantly smaller than the current OB-72 and OB-49 bifold door ranges.

With the exception of the Aluco steel-look bifold and the Visofold 6000 with the heritage sash, all other bifold doors attempt to replicate the steel look simply by adding 20mm, 25mm or 30mm bars to the glass. However, this approach can possibly feel superficial, failing to capture the true essence of steel doors with the instantly recognisable feature backplate behind the handles. Origin with their OB-36, in contrast, has managed to integrate the steel aesthetic into every aspect of its design, from the handle backplate to the slim frame profile and even down to the gorgeous main door handles. It’s a cleverly styled door.

Therefore, Origin joins the Aluco Visofold and Sheerline as one of only four bifold doors that come in a more authentic industrial, heritage, Art-Deco or steel look. But as we say later in this Origin OB-36+ review, the regular bifolds aren’t a wrong choice either and in some cases a better option.

Origin OB-36+ Soho promises to provide a new and sleek patio door solution, available as single or double doors and three, four, five, and six-panel bifolds. Even better, these doors can be designed as a set of central French doors with side panels. If you are looking for single or double-hinged doors, you can consider what is essentially a bifold door system.

Styling and sightlines on the Origin OB-36+

Above all, Origin now has one of the slimmest bifold doors where the panels meet, with a hinge stile glass-to-glass sightline of just 82mm. This beats the Aluco and Visofold bifold at 94mm. The benefit is more glass, a door with sleeker aluminium profiles, and less visible bulk.

origin ob-36+ close up image of the door and bars
Image Credit, Origin Frames Ltd.

On the frame sides, you get a 90mm face dimension, a 98mm sightline with a standard track or 123mm when set on a cill. The non-weathered threshold for internal use is the same. When used with a low track with minimal weathering, the bottom dimension reduces to 59mm.

At the head of the doors, expect a thicker overall sightline because you’ll probably need a trickle vent to comply with current Building Regulations.

The Crittall-inspired feature backplate behind the handle doesn’t just serve a decorative purpose. It is also required to house the locking system. Without this, the primary door’s stile would be too small. So you can only get this door with bars and not fully glazed. There is only one door on the market in the steel look with no bars, and that is made by Aluco.

Technical specification of Origin’s new steel-look bifold door.

• Insulated aluminium frames with a modern polyamide thermal break.
• Maximum panel sizes of 1.9m wide and 2.5m high.
• 8-point locking system.
• Standard or low bifold door track/threshold
• From 28mm double-glazed to 46.8mm triple-glazed.
• PAS 24 security tested with the correct hardware and glass specification.
• Low U-Values and Building Regulations compliant.

The Soho bifold door has some design limitations. It’s intended as a steel-look patio door solution rather than a large-sized folding sliding system. The door panels don’t go as wide or tall as the range’s other doors. It’s intended for standard openings only, with no open-corner option, only a fixed option.

Glass options start at 28mm, 28.8mm (with one laminated glass pane), 44mm triple-glazed and 46.8mm triple-glazed with laminated glass.

Where Origin’s sliding doors will only comply with Building Regulations triple-glazed (fact!), the Origin OB-36+ Soho will meet them double-glazed. Here’s how it complies, whether you need the door for a new build or replacement of your old patio doors.

  • Triple Glazed with glass having a centre pane U-Value of 0.9Wm2K = overall U-Value of 1.1Wm2K
  • Double glazed with glass having a centre pane U-Value of 1.1Wm2K = overall U-Value of 1.3Wm2K
  • Double glazed with glass having a centre pane U-Value of 1.2Wm2K = overall U-Value of 1.4Wm2K – the one you’ll most likely need to meet.

The all-important horizontal bars, giving the desirable and on-trend steel look only come as a 35mm bar option.

Origin is usually late to the party with new products, but when they do bring out a new system, it usually comes with some lovely features. OB-36 will give you an authentic steel look bifold because of the feature lockplate and, even better, the fantastic choice of handle designs available. Few companies do door handles as well as Origin.

origin ob-36+ close up of feature lock body with dark background.
Image Credit Origin Frames Ltd

The Disadvantages Choosing the OB-36.

Styling is a subjective view. While the OB-36 is very attractive as a steel look bifold, when you combine so many horizontal and vertical profiles, the disadvantage is too many visible joints, connections, and sight lines.

The horizontal bars on the doors give the steel look, using a 35mm transom section. This transom section is flat outside and uses the necessary two glazing beads on the inside. In fairness to Origin, this is unavoidable, and any other door brand with transoms will be the same.

But it’s when you create the steel look with many bars on a door that the inside of the doors looks fussy and overworked, with many horizontal lines visible where the three profiles meet.

However, a normal bifold with simple, flat, applied aluminium glazing bars gives a significantly cleaner look internally without visible bead lines. You’ll need to see the door inside and out to understand how it looks better outside than the inside.

The main point of this is to say that smaller door sets in width can potentially look fussy and cluttered. Wider door sets create a better looking door overall.

The design and positioning of the feature plate behind the handle also restricts the design you can have in some ways, and the door only comes with a maximum of four glass divides.

The low-track option is only available with single or double doors, not a bifold. This is understandable given that many want a minimal step going through a doorway.

Where you can use Origin OB-36+ Soho.

You can use OB-36+ to replace a dated set of patio doors or add the finishing touch to your newly built home or extension. This bifold can work in any house style with a range of cill profiles and trickle vents to meet current Building Regulations.

Given the popularity of steel-look systems, origin may have bought out a game-changing product. We think this design trend is here to stay for house refurbishments and more. In a very mature bifold market, it’s great to see Origin innovating with bifold doors just like they did nearly twenty years ago when they started. It is a product that aligns with contemporary design trends and practical requirements.

The OB-36’s adaptability suits all applications, from replacing old patio doors to being a focal point in new extensions. Its design versatility means it can blend seamlessly into different architectural styles, from modern minimalist to traditional.

Do not use Origin OB-36+ Soho doors in non-dwellings

It’ll be tempting for these doors to go into cafes, bars, restaurants and as entrance doors to office buildings. Origin and some of their installers have been marketing online, and the product is already fitted in commercial buildings. The choice of door is down to the building owner, but in any building that is not a dwelling, it’s not that clear cut.

Any door intended for non-dwellings must meet Approved Document M and BS8300 of the Building Regulations. This door does not comply with these essential building regulations for commercial buildings/anything that is not a house. In England, all buildings must adhere to Document M, as it is a legal obligation. Those involved in the construction process, such as designers, architects, builders, and installers, are responsible for ensuring that their work meets the stipulated building regulations. Non-compliant doors can lead to penalties for the building owner.

You take all the risk if you intend to fit this door in any building other than a dwelling. The less experienced Origin installer will probably not mention this essential compliance, but we have.

How much does the Origin OB-36+ Soho Cost?

Here are some approximate prices for the Origin OB-36+ compared to some of its steel-look competition. These prices include glass, fitting, and VAT. The Origin OB-36+ is available as a single door, French doors, French doors with side panels, and a 3-panel and 4-panel Bifold set.

With so many Origin retailers nationwide, the prices you can expect to pay will vary. Profit margins, installation costs, material buying power, and business overheads all play a part, not to mention how keen the installer is to secure your business. It is often the case that products in the North of the country are much cheaper than in the South and Home Counties.

DesignOrigin OB-36+ AlithermVisofold 6000Aluco
Single Door£2400£1900£2200£2500
French Doors£4300£3850£4100£4800
French Doors with side panels£7700£6400£6500£6900
3-Panel Bifold£6100n/a£5200£5500
4-Panel Bifold£7800n/a£6800£7100

Other products to consider instead of the Origin OB-36

The Origin product is unique because, as a bifold, it is presently the only one on the market with the feature lock backplate. There is no comparable product. So, with this feature alone, and if you like the styling, it’s the product to go with.

origin ob-36+ close up of feature lock body with dark background.
It’s the feature backplate that makes this door distinctive. Image Credit Origin Frames Ltd

Our recommendation is to also consider slimline bifold doors that don’t necessarily have the feature backplate, or the static but look equally impressive in the steel look. One contender is Origin’s own OB-49 bifold that looks very smart with applied bars. The Visofold 600 and similar Aluco Steel-look bifold are other good alternatives, albeit without the feature lock backplate.

With the benefit of knowing all the products, slimline premium bifolds will look sleeker and slimmer overall than the OB-36+. Sunflex, Solarlux and latest Schuco AS FD 75 bifold also look fantastic with applied bars, creating the grid-like appearance. Plus any good bifold will create wider door panels, slimmer glazing bars rather than the thicker Origin transoms and we think a better overall patio door experience.

If you’re considering the Origin OB-36+ Soho as single doors, double doors or French doors with side panels in the steel look, the OB-36 is fine. However, a dedicated steel-look patio door system such as Alitherm or Aluco does give you a slimmer overall look and more authentic steel styling.

The Alitherm Heritage system, the airMOD Heritage, or the Aluco Exterior System should all be seen and compared to the Origin door before making a final decision. With 25mm and 20mm bar options, including the outstanding Aluco Floating Lock design, these are visually better and in our view far more authentic than the Origin OB-36+ Soho when you don’t want a folding door. Aluco’s 20mm option is near-identical to the 19mm bar on a Crittall door. Get in touch and we can help put you in touch with suitable suppliers and installers nationwide.

Whilst more expensive, another even slimmer alternative to the Origin OB-36+ are two incredible slide and turn systems, also available in the steel look. First is the Vistaline made, supplied and fitted by ID Systems. The second is the ‘Slimline’ designed and made by Frameless Glass Curtains in Kent.

The Origin OB-36+ Soho is 84mm at the mullion. Vistaline is a mere 45mm and FGC’s Slimline is just 60mm. Where the steel-look is all about mimicking the thin proportions of steel, no other door does it better if your key decision is how slim the mullions are. And both these doors can be modified with thing glazing bars to give the multi-panel style. Check these out as well and go view them. You may find you like them more.

Origin’s new OB-36. Conclusion

Our advice if you are considering any of these doors is first of all to arrange a viewing in a showroom. From our initial observations, the Origin OB-36+ Soho comfortably sits as one of the best-styled steel-look bifold doors and you’ll love the look of it. It’s matching single and French doors will provide a matching door solution where you want folding and hinged doors.

If your project requires single doors, double doors or French doors with side or top panels, you’d do the right thing by comparing the Origin product to the Alitherm Heritage, the new Alitherm 60 Heritage and the Aluco product. For these door types, they offer a better overall product proposition and are slimmer.

origin ob-36+ soho in a lounge with a man in front of the patio doors
The Origin OB-36+ Soho is a good looking door overall.

The unique feature of OB-36+ is a bifold designed with the recognisable feature handle backplate, something no other folding sliding system currently offers. The deep bottom rail is another fantastic option that adds to its ability to replicate classic metal doors. Origin’s handle choices are arguably the best you can get on a steel-look door. These are its best three propositions overall.

Stylish, desirable and indeed of quality, the OB-36+ Soho will naturally come the Origin product quality, reputation, guarantee, and overall service via its network of approved dealers. Just so you know, given Origin’s nationwide presence, prices for this product will vary significantly. The premium Origin installers that sell windows and doors at realistic prices with better service are likely to be more expensive. The smaller Origin installers and those choosing the cut-price route will be much cheaper. The Origin OB-36+ comes recommended.

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