Luke Loeffler – Data Visualization – Portrait of IKEA

by luke @ 9:50 am 7 February 2012

To put the motivations of this project in context, one of a series of videos I made recently.

I’m interested in visualizing mass quantities of material, removed from their normal context (which is in carefully-curated groups of furniture in homes or the store). Though I do draw some simple analytical conclusions, the interest was more of making a visceral impact.


more screenshots on flickr

The dataset was collected with a custom python spider written using the mechanize and beautiful soup libraries to fetch and parse html, the urllib to get images, and put into a sqlite database for organization. A photoshop batch script was created to create transparent PNG files from the original jpegs by removing the white background. A program written in Processing using the opencv library was used to extract the perimeter data and store the vertices in the database. Additional programs were written to analyze color, size, and language in the dataset.  The main visualization/game was written in processing and using the fisica box2d library.

Average weight: 24 kg, max weight: 308 kg
$1,401,688 to buy one of everything.


For a while, I will be sharing the dataset itself which consists of a sqlite db file and approximately 20,000 500×500 images (half original jpg/half transparent png).

1 Comment

  1. ========================================
    Luke Loeffler: Portrait of IKEA

    …that chopping looks really precarious. And a little barbaric o_O
    Huh. How do you extract and format the images into objects like that?
    Seems like a cool process. Not so sure about the result.

    Lovely project. The shitpile screenshots, the piling up video, the sorted video, the average color. Great work.

    good backstory

    the items in the video are a bit small and hard to see, maybe a zoom?

    Great job. Loved it.

    the falling images are fantastic, I’m also enamored of all the little physics interactions.
    Please link to the physics you used I’m so in love it’s ridiculous.
    ^ Yeah, this would’ve been good to know

    Awesome concept, I love the scale. Really want to see the html5 site,

    Flickr images look a lot cooler than the video demo. Why is that? is it because the objects are too small and the background too large?
    Mostly a matter of mass / volume of stuff.
    Actually, no. I just don’t find the images themselves as compelling / visually appealing as the outlines.

    Great idea and beautiful visualization! I love the different colors of all different items. The combination is just really engaging.

    The Avergae IKEA color pallete: “A Dusty Sage”


    Hilarious. Really aesthetically elegant.

    The catalogue visualization / stats are brilliant.

    I see this and all I can think of is this game:

    it’s a nice visual comparison of all the stuff IKEA sells and the cheapo furniture that most likely ends up in a college garage sale or gulped up by a trash truck. Also amazing how much data you gathered from the IKEA site.

    I like that the vis has some elements of IKEA advertising i.e. mod and clean with nothing in it but IKEA wares. It may be interesting to tie the pileup into quantaties of materials used in making it.
    That may enhance the sense of disposable (shitpile) products.

    nice simple graphic
    haha it could be really could to scrub through (interactive app) a slider of ikea items by price
    could you average color for different categories of items (childrens v. living room etc)

    i thought the visualization over price was pretty cool. i
    Seems your going about data vis the best way. Just trying to visualize in as many ways as possible to see what might come up.

    The data is excellent. I find myself wishing this was a website or java applet somewhere I could just explore the data. These are all great ways of grouping and sorting IKEA junk and I wish I could play with it and create my own.

    I agree with above, the data is really great and it’s good that you have a database you can slice in many different ways. Have you tried combining the “sorted” and “falling” metaphors? So objects falling in price order or similar?

    Re: Poster of piles of stuff — I’d buy one. The clean appearance works well, and fits the “Ikea style”.

    Would have been great if you made a chart with the material data instead of just the number list.

    There’s a lot of great data there, I love how much you can learn just by watching all the items flash by, or reading an unexpectedly interesting list of materials.

    The poang picture was really great.
    ***YEAH YEH

    love how the video has no dialogue and just visuals and sounds of you beating a chair.

    I love this idea.+1
    ** Agreed

    I like that you sorted this information so many ways.
    ***great detail into the various forms of data

    This sort by price reminds me of a slot machine. That would be a fun way to shop…

    beautful visuals.
    *** Yeah. Awesome.

    I really liked the super clean flipbook of products, especially after the pile of crap approaches.

    i like the idea of buying one of everything a lot

    i bet ikea would want this on their website

    Comment by patrick — 7 February 2012 @ 10:48 am

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
(c) 2022 Interactive Art and Computational Design, Spring 2012 | powered by WordPress with Barecity