IKEA Communications runs the largest photo studio in northern Europe. Inside their 94,000-square-foot facility an army of carpenters, designers and shooters all plan, build and photograph the faux rooms you see in the Ikea catalog. Here's a brief look at their facility:
Fake rooms still require real skilled labor to produce. The walls need to be painted, the kitchens need to be tiled, the living rooms need to be styled. It's a lot of work, and when the catalog's finished, the rooms get torn down to make way for next year's.
It's therefore no surprise that Ikea is using more and more digital images in their catalog, like the ones you see here. (That's right, none of these are real.) Yet when I first heard this fact during a presentation at Autodesk headquarters, where a company flack mentioned Ikea uses their software to create the images, all of us journalists in the room snatched up our phones to Tweet this.
No one can tell the difference between the studio shots and the CG ones, so it makes sense to save on all of the building materials required for the former by shifting focus towards the latter. Currently just 12% of the Ikea catalog consists of digital images, though they're ramping that up to 25% for the next catalog.
You might wonder why the percentage is so low, considering that Ikea undoubtedly has CAD files of everything they produce. Surprisingly, the Wall Street Journal reports that "Faced with a shortage of people capable of doing this work, the company is collaborating with photo schools to teach computer design skills."
Nuts, huh? A bunch of you reading this are probably already qualified, so I'm kind of surprised IKEA has to go down to the school level to institute training.
IKEA flacks, if you're reading this: You need to get onto Coroflot!