17. Mai 2021


In Berlin, epicenter of the German start-up and fintech scene, the new DKB Campus is being built. The innovation agency Graft Brandlab is responsible for its workplace design. By developing a highly flexible, visionary and innovative interior design concept, Graft Brandlab underscores Deutsche Kreditbank AG's profile as a tech company with a banking license.

The new DKB Headquarters are located on Heidestraße in the Mitte district - in the Europacity area close to the main train station. The technologically and architecturally sophisticated building is planned by the architectural firm Kleihues + Kleihues for CA Immo Deutschland GmbH and exclusively leased by the DKB Group.

Based on DKB's brand essence and on a comprehensive analysis of future working environments, Graft Brandlab’s concept envisions the DKB Campus as a versatile urban center. It aims to strengthen employee identification, culture and engagement, and to instill a sense of community extending beyond the physical built space.
"We are looking forward to bringing the DKB brand and its corporate strategy to life in a sustainable, credible and approachable way," said Rico Zocher, Managing Partner Business at Graft Brandlab. "Especially in light of the pandemic experience, we are rethinking the design, mission and role of the DKB Campus."

By seamlessly combining the physical and the digital, the interplay between employee presence and virtual collaboration will play a critical role in the future work environment. As a result, flexible and location-independent working will become a key feature in the new DKB working world. According to Prof. Nik Hafermaas, Managing Partner Creation of Graft Brandlab, this becomes a clear competitive advantage in the acquisition of new talent: "If companies prioritize topics such as 'digital first' and maximum connectivity, further developing their leadership culture through 'remote leadership skills', while promoting and integrating sustainability issues, they are decisively increasing their attractiveness as employers.” With sophisticated and sustainable new working models and workplace concepts, the new DKB Campus is positioning itself in a forward-looking and responsible way - both as an employer and as a brand.

Initially, Graft Brandlab won this project in a pitch against other agencies: "We were convinced by the holistic and visionary approach. DKB stands for sustainability and innovation. We believe that we can best represent and shape both together with Graft Brandlab. The agency prevailed over the competition with its vision, technological know-how and innovative strength. We are pleased to be able to work together with Graft Brandlab in the future on this project, which is so important for us," says Karsten Reitz, Managing Director of DKB Campus GmbH.

Completion of the new DKB AG office campus in Berlin is scheduled for 2025.

About DKB AG
Deutsche Kreditbank AG (DKB), headquartered in Berlin, is part of the BayernLB Group and, with its 4,500 employees, serves business and private customers and, with total assets of EUR 109.8 billion, is one of the top 20 banks in Germany. DKB serves more than 4.6 million customers, who can conduct their online banking transactions conveniently and securely using the latest technologies. DKB's industry experts provide personal support to business customers at their locations. As a partner to companies and municipalities, the bank specialized early on in promising sectors in Germany: Housing, healthcare, education, agriculture and renewable energies. In many of these sectors, DKB is one of the market leaders. DKB attaches great importance to entrepreneurial and sustainable action: As #geldverbesserer, DKB focuses on lending in the sustainability sector.

26. April 2021


Haus von Eden is the new guide to sustainable luxury. In an interview with the founders, Nik Hafermaas talks about future trends in architecture, urban planning and mobility.
Read the article.

10. März 2021


The Berlin headquarters of the listed housing company will be expanded by 2023 by a climate-friendly new building, designed by Blumers Architekten. Within this space, the future of working will be realized. Graft Brandlab is responsible for the strategic and visual conception of the working environments in close cooperation with all employees and the project team. The goal is to design a workplace of tomorrow that on the one side reflects the needs and wishes of the employees and on the other side communicates the brand values and aesthetics of the company.
We are looking forward to the cooperation with our client Deutsche Wohnen.

3. März 2021


Round-table discussion “All Eyes On Innovation” @ German Design Awards 2021 The pandemic is accelerating developments in digitalisation and the way we work, live and move in the world.Prof. Nik Hafermaas talked to Oona Horx-Strathern, futurologist and CEO of Zukunftsinstitut Horx GmbH and Lutz Dietzold, CEO of the German Design Council, about the impact of Corona on architecture and innovation in the context of the German Design Awards 2021. The panel was part of the digital programme “All Eyes On”, which has been developed for the presentation of this year’s winners of the German Design Award 2021. It includes a format series with various interviews and talks: Watch the video

16. Oktober 2020


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.

5. Oktober 2020


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 

24. September 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".

26. Mai 2020


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“

22. April 2020


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.

5. März 2020


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.