What Goes On Behind-the-Scenes at Henrybuilt’s Seattle Test Kitchen

Many leading companies have begun to realize the benefits of having a well-designed, quality kitchen in their office, and have created spaces where their employees can rejuvenate, collaborate, and grow as a team. Over the past 18 months, Henrybuilt has worked with a number of brands to build unique in-house kitchens in which their employees can look forward to enjoying on a daily basis. In 2015, they decided to try it out for themselves and installed a test kitchen into their Seattle design and production facility.
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Known for handcrafting high-performance kitchen systems, Henrybuilt approached the project with the goal of it becoming an enjoyable place where the employees who create the products would be able to fully understand the Henrybuilt experience. By testing the products first-hand, they’re able to see for themselves how they can efficiently improve their systems. 

Henrybuilt’s decision to integrate a fully operational test kitchen into their workshop environment, has created a platform for their employees to find daily inspiration, leading to a fulfilling creative experience. They’ve also done the same for companies including Warner Music Group, Talbots, Steelcase, Value Act Capital, and FiftyThree.

The kitchen has become a place where the people who imagine, design, and build the products can come together and put their work to the test—and enjoy it the way it’s meant to be. Additionally, the space has become a locale where the staff can cook meals for themselves and for one another, giving them a chance to learn, improve, and develop their skills.

After designers, engineers, and craftspeople mingle and share ideas, they take their findings back to the drawing board where they aim to constantly improve existing products while dreaming up new components.

Having the test kitchen in such close proximity to the production floor—literally sharing the same space—allows Henrybuilt to implement improvements quickly and effectively. Though this requires a little extra cleaning, it emphasizes the connection between the people building the product and those actually using it.

One of the aspects that makes Henrybuilt’s products so unique is the way they approach design through systems. In addition to the fact that it allows for personalization around every corner, it creates a high degree of intuitive functionality that’s devised to boost the homeowner’s overall quality of life.

Their systems include award-winning components like the Drawer Accessory System, shown here with a construction of Paperstone and solid surface acrylic—both materials traditionally used in countertops. This addition extends high-performance function to the interior of a system, where users actually interact with it the most. As homeowners’ needs evolve, they can arrange the reconfigurable dividers in any way they desire. The pieces simply snap back together, thanks to a number of small magnets that are carefully embedded.

The test kitchen is outfitted with their Opencase Wall System, configured with two pot racks and a sliding glass wall unit that includes integrated LED lighting. The Backsplash System is constructed of solid white acrylic and features a stainless steel shelf. Finally, the gray walnut island is finished with an impeccable tongue-and-groove paneling, a recent addition to Henrybuilt’s growing range of products.

After just one day of using the kitchen, the team realized that they could design special cutting boards that slide on and off the Gaggenau modular cooking units. This way, they’d be extending the amount of usable counter space while introducing a whole new level of customization. They made it happen that same night.

If you’re interested in checking out the Henrybuilt Test Kitchen yourself, it’s open to the public by appointment.


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