Inaugural Digital Issue

IntroductionThe Frontier

A quick note about this section

In 1966 the National Film Board of Canada commissioned a film to celebrate the Canadian centennial. The idea was to send a camera up in an Alouette II helicopter to film the 10 provinces from above.

Introduction by
Paddy Harrington

It’s an epic work and was nominated for an Academy Award for best Documentary Film. It was called Helicopter Canada.

When watching the film I’m struck by a couple of things. First, the deeply varied nature of this country. Oceans transform into dense forests and rivers, then to wide plains, arctic ice fields, cities and mountains and finally, to the ocean again.

Frontier is a company that stands for creative exploration in all its forms. It stands for a process of discovery. It stands for the courage of those who take risks and try new things.

The second thing that strikes me is how direct the film is. It’s narrated by Stanley Jackson (himself a filmmaker) and the tone is both earnest and unadorned. There’s a clarity in the narration that is as refreshing as the view of the landscapes that zip by.

The director, Eugene Boyko, was a champion of the NFB. It’s now regarded as one of the world’s premiere film institutions. Boyko was an inventor, once devising a contraption that allowed him to drop a camera to simulate the view from a tree as it fell. He needed the shot for a documentary he was making about the logging industry.

Frontier is a company that stands for creative exploration in all its forms. It stands for a process of discovery. It stands for the courage of those who take risks and try new things.

There are three parts to Frontier.

It is this magazine. Here, we tell the most compelling stories we’ve found about the creative process.

It is a ventures group that makes physical and digital products to support creative exploration.

And Frontier is a design studio that works with companies to help them shape and tell their story clearly and then designs the things they need to tell that story.

Welcome to The Frontier. In this, our inaugural digital issue, we explore the nature of exploration and the fear that comes with it. We talk to people who aren’t just standing at the frontier, but are expanding it by creating new products and ideas. In some cases, they’re going places no one has ever been to, and doing things no one has ever done. And we introduce our own first humble foray into the frontier with our very own product that we’re inviting you to create with us.

We hope you enjoy it. And we hope to hear from you soon.

Paddy Harrington

Paddy Harrington

Paddy Harrington is the founder of Frontier. He has degrees in architecture and literature and is an award winning writer and film maker. Paddy Harrington is the founder of Frontier. He has degrees in architecture and literature and is an award winning writer and film maker.

helping hands

Giving Out Helping Hands

The inception story of the nonprofit, e-NABLE, which is little more than a year old demonstrates what happens when strangers meet and collaborate, their collective skills creating something revolutionary. It all started when American Ivan Owen shared a video of a mechanical hand he had made for a Steampunk convention. Across the world, in South Africa, a carpenter named Richard Van As saw it as a solution to his plight. He had lost a few of his fingers in carpentry accident. He reached out to Ivan, asking for his help. Ivan agreed and together they went to work on creating a prosthetic.

Read More

the frontier tuque thumb

Our First Venture

Ventures Update is a recurring feature that tracks the progress of one of our own creative projects. The inaugural Venture is the design and development of a Canadian Icon: The Tuque.

Read More

today

Today’s Frontier

It's the hardness of the land that makes people soft. Newfoundland is an unforgiving landscape. It denies the pathetic fallacy, but at the same time reinforces an irrational love of the place.

Read More

robot dna thumbnail

Forming Robots From DNA

Fighting cancer effectively means attacking only the effected cells. DNA Robots seem to show great progress.

Read More

girls at lowline

Where There’s Sunshine Underground

Major cities are centres of construction. Condo after condo, new office towers, sports centres and more each take their own slice of the city, each evolving it and sharing it with their own footprint. Eventually, land runs starts to thin and we realize we've missed one important thing: public green space.

Read More

project row houses

The Not-For-Profit Sculpture

Rick Lowe was creating political art, works infused with messages of social change. This is not new. Many artists have done it. From the likes of Shepard Fairey to Eugene Delacroix.

Read More

ice cream thumb

Collaborative Ice Cream

Ice cream will never be the same. With flavours that include ‘Black Olive Brittle & Goat Cheese’, ‘Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons’ and ‘Toasted Coconut with Candied Macadamia Nuts’, an ice cream company is changing the way we think about this dessert. On Yelp, one customer wonders, “How do they pair such perfect flavours together?”

Read More

dance thumbnail

Designing Dance

Itamar Kubovy believes that ignorance can be a powerful ally. The Executive Director of Pilobolus, a New York based experimental dance troupe, constantly works to redefine the company and how they approach their craft. In recent years they have paired up with non-choreographers to push the practice forward, working with dance outsiders like illustrator Art Spiegelman and illusionists Penn & Teller.

Read More

baxter robot thumbnail

The Humanity in a Factory Robot

Baxter is a red robot with two large arms and a screen featuring two eyes. "Not a week goes by when somebody doesn't comment to me”, told Jim Lawton, Chief Marketing Officer at Rethink Robotics, “‘Wow, I love working with your robot. They're so engaging and friendly and I just love the smile".

Read More

quotidian record and player

What Does Data Sound Like?

Brian House effortlessly flows from data to code, artistic expression, music, and back again. This intersection of skill and understanding lends uniqueness and exacting clarity to his art. It's evident that only someone of his multifaceted nature could come up with his work; he is an artist who is helping us feel data.

Read More

openrov thumb

OpenROV

In the early grades of school, we learn about explorers. We hear about their journeys: how they traversed the Atlantic, pushed through heavy North Pole snow and planted their feet on new soil for the first time.

Read More

align thumb

Align

Reimagining something familiar is one of the most ambitious things a designer can do. The chair is one of the most difficult of all. Despite the diversity of chairs out there, how can you improve on the basic design?

Read More

seaboard by computer

Seaboard

One such instance is the Seaboard. What first looks like a wonky George Foreman grill turns out to be a musical keyboard. But unlike traditional pianos, all its keys are black and, even more unusual, they are made out of a malleable material. That makes the keys soft and creates a continuous playing surface. This […]

Read More

robotic printer thumb

Mini Mobile Robotic Printer

Jonathan Stein noticed something about printers. The ubiquitous devices that sit on our desks were, in fact, quite simple. In effect, he realized that it was just a box that moved from side to side and “printed” the document.

Read More

Ototo thumbnail

Ototo

Kids these days. They play on iPads and iPhones tapping on fake birds in slingshots and skeuomorphic drums. Adults might lament and wonder if kids are gaining anything from all that tapping. Whatever happened to turning a cardboard box into a car?

Read More

plumen 002

Plumen 002

“Don’t you think it’s strange”, comments Nicholas Roope, Founder and Design Director at Plumen, “that the lightbulb, an object so synonymous with ideas, is almost entirely absent of imagination?”

Read More

1 2