The Idealists

An art, design and life movement connecting people, the planet and a society in mutation.

The Idealists is an open Movement, that direct an “Idealist” way of considering art, design and life. As citizens, institutions and companies, we have a responsibility for the world’s environmental and people’s social well being. Together, with a bottom up approach, the Idealists tackle societal themes, within their own fields and local context. We are joined by a common approach, a Manifesto and a desire to bring about solutions to societal challenges.



Any creation has to be open and transformable.
Question everything and accept risk taking,
to change the status quo.
Take the necessary time for reflexion and become sensitive
to the common good.
Be immersed in the context,
to shape necessary and collective dreams.
Recognise and rise the value of the existent
and reactivate its value.
Make the complex simple,
to be understandable by anyone.
Collaborate and trust transversal knowledges,
for the output to be more just.
The idealism should be shared and invite participation,
to gain a following.


The Ideal Lab has operated as a research through design program in the period 2010-2017. Through five themes based on social issues, 52 Agents have used a common process based on trust, doubt, ethics and empathy, to produce 40 works of art and design. Ideal lab have worked with municipalities and local communities in four cities in Norway and France and exhibited the results in a dedicated exhibition touring Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne, Le Cité du Design et de la Mode, Paris, Saint-Nazaire, Florø, Kraft, Bergen and at the Oslo Architecture Triennial. The issues researched: Senior wave (Longer Participation), Food waste (Precious Food), Empathic neighbourhoods (Empathic Home), Inclusive identity (Replanted Identity and Tøyen Replanted) are themes that can not be closed and deserve further investigation.

Ideal Lab was created in 2009 by Birgitta Ralston and Alexandre Bau as a desire to push further the cross competent collaboration between art and design, started in the Cycle of Mutation program, towards social problematics. They saw ethics and social engagement as crucial to a relevant design practice. The first years, Ideal Lab was dedicated to the location of the Transplant design centre and the community Dale i Sunnfjord, Norway. As Ralston & Bau shut down operations in Transplant in 2012 the program freed itself from a dedicated location. The Idealist movement is using the ideas and methods from Ideal Lab in the local contexts and action fields of the movements partner institutions.

Founding members

Birgitta Ralston & Alexandre Bau, Ralston & Bau – Dale i Sunnfjord, Norway
Béatrice Josse, director, Magasin des Horizons – CNAC Grenoble, France
Ambra Trotto, Studio Director, RI.SE Interactive – Umeå, Sweden
Anthony Quinn, Head of Ceramics, Central Saint-Martins,
Product, Ceramics & Industrial Design – London, UK
Eva Gonzales-Sancho, Maker & Co-Curator, Oslo Pilot – Oslo, Norway


Are you Idealist?