Article on Female Empowerment and Covid-19

How has the Covid-19 pandemic influenced the female empowerment movement? As part of our exclusive Executive Talks, we wanted to know more and invited female executives from well-known companies to talk about the impact of the pandemic. Among them Nina Pütz, head of the payment company Ratepay and Julia Carloff-Winkelmann, Chief People Officer of the mobility start-up Dance. Read about their personal experiences and advice here.


Interview: Nik Hafermaas about VoloPort's potential

Being awarded "Best of Best" at the Automotive Brand Contest for the project VoloPort for Volocopter demonstrates that mobility is an unstoppable transformation process. Prof. Nikolaus Hafermaas, Managing Partner of Graft Brandlab, talks about the vision, the challenges and the revolutionary potential of the project. Watch the video 


With Hyundai Motor @ Auto China 2020

Berlin-based agency translates Hyundai’s vision of future mobility into a modular trade show experience


At the Auto China 2020 (Sept 26 – Oct 5, 2020 in Beijing) it finally took place, the premiere of the first new-generation trade show appearance of the South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Company - conceived and designed by the Berlin-based innovation agency Graft Brandlab.


In addition to the progressive spatial interpretation of the new brand vision of the future-oriented mobility provider Hyundai Motor, focusing on people instead of the product, the architecture is easily adaptable to different spatial, geographical and cultural conditions. For this purpose, Graft Brandlab developed a flexible stand concept with adaptable, modular elements, using generative and parametric design tools.


Change of perspective: With Generative Design to an efficient, adaptable brand experience which puts people first


The new brand vision "Progress for Humanity" of Hyundai Motor Company, which sees itself more than ever as a future-oriented mobility provider, puts people at the center of this future. This brand vision was translated into an interactive and globally adaptable spatial experience.


Nik Hafermaas, Managing Partner Creation, Graft Brandlab: "We are at a fascinating crossroads of mobility: towards people with their actual needs, away from the unilateral focus on individual transport, for which many people are paying a high price today. As passionate urban designers, architects and branding experts, we are at the nexus of empathy and groundbreaking technologies. With the innovative experience concept for Hyundai Motor, we set a striking accent with a clear direction: forward.”


A recurring element in the overall design is the circle, derived from the brand vision "Progress for Humanity" as the impulse of life - an organic form that expands further into create space to frame so-called "treasured moments“ - moments that reflect innovative themes from Hyundai's vision of tomorrow. The transformation into a "Hydrogen Society" and the implementation of 3-dimensional mobility, such as urban air taxis, are two new thematic focuses that were developed together with Graft Brandlab. The new design puts such focal points at center stage and creates an inviting, experience-oriented space opening up towards the visitor and invites exploration.


To structure the exhibition space for the presentation of cars and mobility concepts in a space-efficient and viewer-optimized way, an algorithmic design was applied, which perfects the arrangement of the exhibits by mouse click. In addition, this design tool can easily scale the basic concept to match different space and size conditions. This generative design will now be further developed as part of an experience guideline.


Marvin Bratke, Head of Architecture at Graft Brandlab, sees enormous potential in the newly designed guideline, which combines analogue with digital: "With this seamless extension, we ensure both efficiency in planning and production processes, as well as interactive usage scenarios that make complex processes more accessible to all involved.


Cornelia Schneider, Vice President and Head of Global Experiential Marketing, Hyundai Motor Company: „For many decades, mobility was reduced primarily to the function and design of its physical manifestations. Of course, we too love beautiful cars, whose production is our core business. But above all, we see ourselves as pioneers in the future of mobility, which we increasingly see as a service that puts people at the center of attention and gives them freedom of movement through customized, modular connections in time and space. This is what we also rely on in our cooperation with Graft Brandlab".


The VoloPort swept the board

The world's first vertiport prototype for electrically operated air taxis, designed by Brandlab for Volocopter and Skyports, convinces serval high-ranking jurys. 

2020 is the year of awards for the project VoloPort, conceived and designed by the Berlin-based innovation agency Brandlab for Volocopter and Skyports. The vision, concept, design and user experience of the forward-looking urban air mobility infrastructure project convinced the high-profile juries that have honored VoloPort with the German Innovation Award, the iF Design Award, and the Automotive Brand Contest Award.

A flexible landing infrastructure of so-called vertiports is of critical importance for the success of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in general, and particularly for the operation of air taxis in congested cities. With VoloPort, precisely such an infrastructure was created as a worldwide first for Volocopter, , pioneers in the field of electrically operated air taxis, and Skyports, specialist UAM infrastructure providers.

After Brandlab won the international pitch for infrastructure design in collaboration with GRAFT Architects and Arup, the first prototype of a vertiport for eVTOLs, electrically powered air taxis, was presented at the ITS World Congress 2019 in Singapore in autumn 2019. Based on the actual building, processes, interfaces and user scenarios were tested and optimized to prepare the start of a worldwide rollout, directly after receiving the official approvals.

Through an inviting and open architecture with a high degree of transparency and a visual relationship with the aircraft, an environment has been created that rouses anticipation for the upcoming flight, and at the same time, conveys a sense of safety. To meet the requirements of urban locations, a flexible modular concept was developed to allow for variable configurations at different locations.


The team:

Project Lead: Linda Stannieder

Project Management: Felipe Wagner, Maximilian Grieb

Strategy: Alexandra Uzuno?lu, Helene Haas

Branding: Jörg Dengler, David Steingrüber

Architecture: Marvin Bratke, Rangel Karaivanov, Phillip Hohmann, Lucas Confurius, Liljana Nastova

Project Consultants: ARUP (aviation rights, building structure and light consultancy), GRAFT (architecture)



Linda Stannieder, Project Lead Brandlab:

"The teams of Brandlab, Volocopter and Skyports have made history with the VoloPort. The realisation of the world's first vertiport in a megacity describes a first very important step for the future of new inner-city transport systems. With the first prototype, a customer journey was tested for the first time to enable passengers in cities worldwide to fly in air taxis. It is an honor to see the project receiving such prestigious awards."


Prof. Nik Hafermaas, Managing Partner Brandlab:

"Our successful cooperation with Volocopter symbolizes the mission of Brandlab in a special way: we shape the relationship between pioneering technology and humanity".


Florian Reuter, CEO Volocopter:

“Boarding a VoloCity in the VoloPort will be an integral part of the Urban Air Mobility customer experience. As such, a seamless and transparent passenger journey from booking to embarking on the VoloCity is paramount. These awards manifest that beyond our technological leadership, we are also focused on delivering design leadership to offer a state-of-the-art, unforgettable Volocopter brand experience for our customers all over the world.”


Duncan Walker, Managing Director of Skyports:

“Vertiports are a critical enabler of the entire air taxi solution for urban locations. Space is severely limited in busy city centres and vertiport sites come in various shapes and sizes, hence the VoloPort’s award-winning modular design. Applying this flexible approach to our infrastructure solution, we are already working towards the widespread delivery of fully-functional vertiports around the world to support the introduction of commercial air taxi services.”


The awards:

German Innovation Award 2020 Gold title for “transportation” in the “Excellence in Business to Consumer” class

Statement of the jury: “Electrically operated air taxis are considered a very promising solution when it comes to reducing the burden on urban traffic flows. The design of the VoloPort looks futuristically modern, pleasantly open and underscores the progressive aspiration of the topic. At the same time, the design suggests a high degree of quality and security with an exclusive lounge style. The VoloPort is an essential component of the revolutionary air taxi system as a landing, starting, and maintenance station and was designed with impressive form and function.“


Automotive Brand Contest: Best of Best in the Category Architecture & Event

Statement of the jury: “A terminal for a totally new form of transport, the Volocopter, must immediately convey, through its appearance, the innovative nature of this „Flying taxi“: as an example of this, it is a success. The architecture is an integral part of the whole chain of experience – it encapsulates the new brand.”


iF DESIGN Award: Discipline „Architecture“, Category „Public“



New Strategic Dual Leadership

Nikolaus Hafermaas and Rico Zocher take over the management with immediate effect.

GRAFT Brandlab, the Berlin-based agency for brand innovation, continues its success story of recent years with a new top-caliber dual leadership. As of April 15th, 2020, Nikolaus Hafermaas and Rico Zocher, two experienced and internationally esteemed partners, will head GRAFT Brandlab as its new managing partners. Through their strategic competence and innovative media experience, they strengthen the unique creative profile of the agency in close partnership with GRAFT architects. As a result, the Berlin-based agency significantly expands its expertise in strategic consulting services and the innovative integration of multimedia experiences into the physical environment.


GRAFT Brandlab has consistently taken a holistic approach to the creation of brand experiences since its founding in 2014, and this new move represents a strategically important step in its development. While the agency’s core orientation will be maintained, Nikolaus Hafermaas and Rico Zocher plan to expand and strengthen specific service areas and to enhance and refine its strategic brand consulting profile. Through progressive brand innovation concepts adnd multidimensional experiences, the agency will place greater focus on enriching the interface between digital and physical brand experiences.

Hafermaas and Zocher point to the agency’s close connection to the renowned architectural office GRAFT as a unique distinguishing characteristic of the agency. Together with Linda Stannieder, the GRAFT founders Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz and Thomas Willemeit established the agency GRAFT Brandlab as a partner company, and both companies have benefited from the collaboration by combining their strategic, creative and planning skills.

The particular strength of Nikolaus Hafermaas and Rico Zocher as a leadership duo derives from their complementary qualifications. Together, they broaden the unique profile of GRAFT Brandlab both at a management level and in its creative and conceptual profile.

Nikolaus Hafermaas is an award-winning artist, designer and professor at the renowned ArtCenter College of Design in California, whose Berlin satellite studio he continues to lead as executive director. He began his career at Triad Berlin, where he worked as CCO and principal partner.

Rico Zocher was most recently managing director at Superunion in Hamburg and has 15 years of agency experience (including various positions at MetaDesign). The economics graduate also has experience of the client side through work with Hugo Boss and Verti Insurance.


Together, they will develop forward-looking ideas for GRAFT Brandlab’s international client base. Hafermaas and Zocher are already looking ahead: „The current coronavirus crisis is forcing companies and brands to rethink massively. If there is anything positive to be drawn from this crisis, it is that exciting times lie ahead for us as branding experts, where we can actively help shape a new awareness for the experience of brands in all their dimensions," explains Hafermaas. Zocher adds: „With regard to market developments, trends and future consumer behavior, there is a greater need than ever before for a keen sense for current shifts and the ability to think ahead and create sustainable and high-quality concepts.“


Linda Stannieder, who with an interdisciplinary team steered GRAFT Brandlab to success within a few years, is leaving the agency at her own request to pursue new professional challenges. She is confidently handing over ongoing projects, clients and employees to the new managing partners.



BRANDLAB won the internationally renowned iF DESIGN AWARD 2020 with the project VoloPort, for customer Volocopter in collaboration with Skyports, in the discipline "Architecture", category "Public". As a major contribution to future electric urban air mobility, the VoloPort was able to convince the 78-member independent international jury of experts. The number of applicants was large: The jurors had to award projects from among 7,298 submissions from 56 countries.


Spaces for Future Health

Brandlab, Graft architects and Charité invited leading minds to a panel discussion focusing on major changes in health. AI-based customization of medical treatment, as well as the interface between individuals and machines have concrete consequences on physical spaces. Individual patient responsibility and empowerment will continue to replace the passive reliance on medical institutions. Will we develop micro recovery facilities in residential areas? The community caring culture will go hand in hand with Healing Architecture topics.


Spaces for Future Work

Vitra, St. Oberholz, WeWork, Deutsche Bahn Smart Cities and Brandlab, in cooperation with the Graft architects, discussed disruptive trends in work cultures and spaces.

What  kind of spaces will truly address the rising loneliness of urban working individuals? How are corporations incorporating their innovation spirit, speed of incubators, and their culture into their work environments? How can physical spaces become a strong catalyst for productivity and face the challenge to attract all generations of employees?


Iconic Award Jury

In 2019 Linda Stannieder is again part of the ICONIC AWARDS Jury initiated by the German Design Council. Together with other leading minds in architecture, interior designer, brand and design strategy, Brandlab’s CEO Linda will jointly select the award winning projects. The categories include “Best of Best”, “Architects of the Year” and “Interior Designers of the Year”, as well as “Architects’ Client of the Year”. The award ceremony will take place at the Pinakotek der Moderne in Munich in autumn 2019.

Photo Credit: Rat für Formgebung / Manuel Debus


Design Plus Jury

Our CEO is proudly part of the jury of Design Plus, a leading design competition in Germany acknowledging products that combine technology and design in an innovative way. The selected product achievements are presented at ISH and Light+Building every year. This is an initiative brought to life by the German Design Council.

Photo Credit: Christoph Jacob


New York Festival Jury

Linda Stannieder and other leading personalities in creative agencies are rewarding outstanding advertising work every year. Idea quality, execution of ideas, and brand relevance are carefully analysed by the New York Festival Jury prior to assigning the awards. This is an international award that we are glad to be part of.


Spaces for Future Mobility

Together with Volocopter, E.ON Drive, Hyperloop and other key stakeholders in mobility, Brandlab reflected in one of our panels on new urban mobility scenarios. What are upcoming innovations and services. How do our cities adapt and change in the future? Is living next to highways the new meditation – when cars stop being noisy and polluting? How do business models change? And are air taxis really coming in the near future?


Silver Award for Shift at Best of Content Marketing

Shift, the sustainability exhibition of the Volkswagen Group, receives a Silver Award at this year’s Best of Content Marketing (BCM) Awards, Europe’s largest event for Content Marketing, in the category Crossmedia – B2C Automobile. Together with Archimedes Exhibitions and Rat für Ruhm und Ehre, Brandlab were responsible for the concept, the content and the visual creation as well as the production of Shift. Like the magazine Shift, the exhibition addressed VW’s responsibility towards the environment and society. Interactive exhibits, surprising lines of vision, multimedia terminals, audio play stations, unusual materials, and an interplay of contrasts made up the show as a unique experience for 150,000 visitors of any age. It has been displayed from November 2017 till February 2018 at the DRIVE Forum in Berlin. Launched in 2003 by the Content Marketing Forum in conjunction with the industry media Horizont, persönlich, CP Wissen und CP Monitor, the BCM is considered the largest competition for content driven corporate communications in Europe.



On Friday May 11th, Berlin's governing mayor Michael Müller officialy opened the memorial "Denk Mal an Freiheit!" at Berlin's central station. The installation has been designed by GRAFT in cooperation with Brandlab. Together with the urban artists Die Dixons, designers, illustrators, and artists from all over the world as well as creative Berliners were called to submit their design proposals for the design of the letters. #FREIHEITBERLIN is exhibited just in front of the main entrance of Berlin's central station until June 18th.


New Year's Reception at Shift

On January 31, we celebrated a joint New Year’s Reception at SHIFT. The sustainability exhibition together with our partnering agencies Archimedes Exhibitions and Rat für Ruhm und Ehre GmbH. British speaker and writer Julia Hobsbawm, author of the internationally-acclaimed book "Fully Connected - Surviving and Thriving in an Age of Overload" has been our special guest and gave an inspiring talk about social wellbeing in an increasingly connected world. Automotive Designer Peter Wouda shared some insights into his work at the Volkswagen Group Future Center Europe and explained the concept of Sedric, Volkswagen`s first self-driving car.

Photo Credit: Michael Feser, Archimedes Exhibitions


Designing the Future of EV-Charging Stations for E.ON

Electric vehicles are on the rise: young families and commuters alike embrace this new kind of mobility for short distances. But what happens when EV-technology matures and finally enters the mainstream? Germany's leading energy supplier, E.ON, anticipates this major shift and plans the roll-out of Europe’s first connected EV-charging network: 180 ultra-fast charging stations from Norway to Italy. These new mobility concepts entail new behaviors and new business models that redefine the gas station as we know it. Brandlab and GRAFT are in the process of developing the vision, customer experience and design of these new charging stations. Come see for yourself: The design concept will be presented to the public at Essen’s E-World 2018 in February.


Interactive map for HERE

Brandlab leveraged augmented reality to craft an immersive experience that showcases HERE’s entire automotive portfolio. A beautifully printed map of San Francisco provides the canvas for an entertaining augmented experience. Upon installing the custom app and pointing their device at the map, visitors can explore a three-dimensional city emerging in front of them. Four scenarios convey the power and potential of HERE’s automotive portfolio in a simple and compelling way.


HERE at CES 2018 in Las Vegas

What happens when drones perform a search in a geo-fenced area? How might this create a new service for delivery trucks? We’re very proud to share one of our largest and probably most complex projects of 2018: An interactive game that reveals the power and potential of the HERE Open Location Platform at CES 2018. Located at the center of HERE’s booth, the interactive table invites visitors to collaborate and build their own scenario of a future city. Placing connected RFID tokens onto the table triggers an entertaining interplay of data sources, services and intelligent technologies.


Coca-Cola Brand Showcase

Coca-Cola commissioned Brandlab with the creation of a new, contemporary branding idea for its gastronomy appearance. The work resulted in four different bar concepts, which we proudly saw coming to life on TV as part of the successful show “The Voice of Germany”. The final show, broadcasted in December with over three million viewers. Brandlab abstracted the historical contour bottle shape and translated it into a spatial installation that makes the brand instantly recognizable.


New Arena - New Logo

On December 15th 2017, the Feuerstein-Arena in Schierke, at the foot of the Harz Mountains, was reopened after an expansive revitalization and new design by GRAFT and sbp engineers. Brandlab designed a new logo for the arena inspired by its unique roof construction and combined it with the main sponsor’s historical logo type - Schierker Feuerstein, the Harz’ beloved liquor brand. Drop by the Feuerstein Arena in case you’re enjoying some time off in the Harz’ untouched nature – it’s perfect for ice skating in winter or concerts in summer.

Photo Credit: Matthias Bein


SHIFT Sustainability Exhibition for Volkswagen

In collaboration with Archimedes Exhibition and Rat für Ruhm und Ehre, Brandlab led the overall concept and design development of "SHIFT - The Exhibition" for the Volkswagen Group at DRIVE Forum in Berlin. Addressing Volkswagen’s role in society and the group’s responsibility towards the environment, the spatial theme "Shifting Perspectives" invites visitors to reflect upon some of the most urgent problems of our times. Interactive exhibits reveal diverse perspectives and inspire a broad audience of several thousand visitors each week.

You can still “shift perspectives” for free until February 28th, 2018: “SHIFT – The Exhibition” is open every day between 10 am and 8 pm at DRIVE. Volkswagen Group Forum, Friedrichstraße 84, 10117 Berlin.

Photo Credit: Michael Feser, Archimedes Exhibitions


“A Changing of the Generational Guard”

Brandlab’s CEO Linda Stannieder has been part of an independent jury of architects, interior designers and brand experts for the ICONIC AWARDS 2017, an international architecture and design competition. In this role, she also wrote an expert contribution for the ICONIC AWARDS catalogue about how architects can benefit from changing their perception of marketing and communicate their services in novel ways.


Cannes Lions Jury

As one of the 13 German jurors at Cannes Lions 2016, Linda Stannieder ranked projects in the category Design. The German jurors, internationally established agency leaders, have often been the numerically most represented nation in the Cannes juries. The advertising festival is the world's most important event in the industry. Here she explains Cannes without words.