Case Study: Corporate Finance Insti...

Case Study: Corporate Finance Institute

The Business

Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) is a business based in Downtown Vancouver that offers online courses in financial analysis, including modeling and valuation. Their coursework was taken by over 100,000 clients in 2018, who range from university students to investment bankers and accountants. With a history going back decades, CFI has gone through a number of changes that, while beneficial, have also meant a need to constantly update their style, refresh their visual identity, and set down roots in their location.

The Problem

While CFI’s Vancouver space was sizeable and conveniently located, they were based out of a coworking space. This meant its layout wasn’t ideally set up for their business and didn’t feel like it actually belonged to them. There was a marked lack of rooms and spaces dedicated to CFI’s specific needs: not only was there an insufficient amount of space dedicated to meeting and collaborative rooms — of which they needed several — the space had no dedicated lobby or waiting area for visitors and clients. On top of that, the office felt second hand in an aesthetic sense, with a lack of branding or visual identity to make the space feel like a dedicated home for CFI.

The Solution

Aura’s approach was a holistic one, covering the necessary changes to the office’s layout and giving it a visual overhaul that made it feel far more like a space that belonged to CFI. In terms of practicality, space was rearranged so that certain areas felt more distinct than others. The hallway adjacent to the main door was widened to create a boundary between the main, open workplace and the area around the entryway newly designated as the waiting area. Multiple rooms were created using glass walls as demarcation points which still allowed for a wide-open, highly visible environment, including both small and large boardrooms, casually furnished meeting spaces, and a dedicated room for recording podcasts. And in terms of branding, well-placed elements of colour — focusing on CFI’s shade of dark blue — adorned window and door frames, as well as walls in the entryway and boardrooms and subtle elements in the carpeted flooring. Lively multicoloured graphics, both abstract and representational, add both visual pizzazz and statements of CFI’s purpose.

Aura worked with both the client and the building’s landlord closely, fitting both the budget and the timeline despite occasional challenges. Even in the event of a setback involving structural asbestos in the office’s exterior walls and columns, Aura was able to come up with creative solutions to the matter that had minimal impact on pre-construction time.

The Outcome

With an emphasis on close-quarters yet spacious-feeling use of the office’s layout, paired with furnishings that made waiting and meeting rooms feel more like welcoming living rooms than an all-business workplace, Aura’s reworking of CFI’s space gave it a feeling of coziness that made it feel like home. Along with the creation of multiple dedicated workspaces, the new layout and design gave CFI employees a versatile and comfortable place to work.

Learn what else Aura can do for you and your office space! Feel free to contact us, and see what other spaces we’ve brought to life.

Case Study: EnWave Corporation

The Business

Based in Delta, British Columbia, EnWave is a company with nearly 25 years’ worth of experience developing commercial applications and equipment for the food and pharmaceutical processing industries. Their ability to create engineering and software-based solutions for a multitude of companies, including a quick and efficient vacuum-microwave dehydration technology known as Radiant Energy Dehydration (or REV™), has appealed to multiple companies looking to find healthier, more cost-effective and energy-efficient methods of processing consumables from produce and grains to pills and vaccines, and their business has been steadily expanding as a result. In 2019, they were ranked #5 among the 100 fastest-growing companies in B.C.

The Problem

Though it may have suited their production needs, the space EnWave did business out of wasn’t doing enough to express their brand identity or the values the company adhered to. This made hosting special events for both employees and clients logistically difficult: aside from the design issues that had the potential to leave visitors feeling displaced or inconvenienced, there were space concerns, too. With the majority of their workplace concentrated in a warehouse, using adjoining offices for meetings and other events meant contending with a limited amount of space.

The Solution

Considering EnWave’s goal of establishing a dedicated waiting area, a sizeable boardroom, a number of smaller meeting rooms, and open space — all capable of hosting 14 employees — a major restructuring of the office plan needed to happen. But while the needs were obvious, the budget and the limited amount of space to work with meant Aura needed to plan carefully and creatively. Given those conditions, Aura filled those needs with a distinct style and efficient use of square footage, creating a look that offset contrasting monochromatic modernism with distinct patterning and clean-edged delineations of rooms that used interior windows to create an open feeling. Branding was incorporated with wit and subtlety — individual office spaces featured brand-evoking blue wave designs on the walls — and natural light was accented with eclectic fixtures that ranged from the breakroom’s retro-industrial bulbs to the boardroom’s halo-shaped overhead lighting.

The Outcome

With a more inviting and well-laid-out space, day-to-day business for EnWave was able to accommodate outside interests and client visits without worries of limited space, cramped isolation, or this-could-be-anywhere anonymity. For a company whose work mixed the scientific and the industrial, the new feeling that EnWave’s office gained from Aura’s insights made for a pleasant environment that was comfortably distinct from the mechanical engineering side of the operation.

Learn what else Aura can do for you and your office space! Feel free to contact us, and see what other spaces we’ve brought to life.

Case Study: BERMANFALK Hospitality Group

Vancouver-based BERMANFALK has been providing furnishings to the hospitality industry throughout the world since 2007. In that span of time — relatively short in memory, but a long stretch for a growing business — BERMANFALK grew rapidly, with their design-first approach earning their seating and casegoods products a strong reputation and a growing footprint in the hotelier and interior design worlds. While their committment to a Canadian sense of quality products and efficient service was well-maintained, the rate of their growth led to an inevitability: how do they redesign their office and make it more efficiently attuned to the needs of an expanding business?

The Problem

For BERMANFALK, their needs were clear: their workforce was growing, and that meant a need for more coordinated teamwork in a larger operation. Due to the collaborative nature of the workplace, the idea was to gravitate towards an open space, one that encouraged and inspired a free exchange of ideas. But there was still a need to allow individual employees their own spaces, autonomy, and privacy, which open-plan offices aren’t always designed to accommodate.

The Solution

Partnering with Aura gave BERMANFALK many options to choose from in expanding and redefining their space. For their new office, located in a former industrial space, the openness of the space was emphasized with soft white walls and ceiling, letting the contrasting abstract/organic patterning of the carpeting reflect the shadows and light given off by the structure of the ceiling’s bare ductwork and girders. This lent the open space of the floorplan a bright uniformity, while other more delineated spaces — including individual cubicles, cabinetry, and window frames of conference rooms — were highlighted with darker slate tones. And in keeping with BERMANFALK’s reputation for design, furnishings were given a timeless modernity, mid-Century designs standing out distinctly while still maintaining a comfortable minimalism.

The Outcome

With Aura’s open space plan, BERMANFALK’s managers were able to get a clear, easy overview of operations as the size of their business expanded. Meanwhile, the visual impact of their space was directly in keeping with their stylistic philosophy, post-industrial chic highlighting a simple but versatile approach to creating a harmonic interior space. In short, Aura served as the interior designer that interior design experts trusted.

Learn what else Aura can do for you and your office space! Contact us, and see what other spaces we’ve brought to life.

Case Study: Ram Consulting

Vancouver-based design and construction management consulting firm RAM is a highlight of Aura’s portfolio. Their space is a product of client-ready knowledge and creative problem-solving that helped give one of Western Canada’s most important infrastructure-managing firms room to meet its quickly-growing demand. And to get to that point, Aura would need to assist them in solving problems common to businesses undergoing rapid expansion. Here’s how it all happened.


The Problem

In taking on increasing amounts of large-scale work, including project and construction management for major Vancouver-area transportation arteries like the South Fraser Perimeter Road, George Massey Tunnel, and Canada Line Metro, RAM found their old office space insufficiently prepared for expansion. And any renovation would need to keep their workers foremost on their list of priorities: RAM’s core values didn’t just include ethical concerns like safety and integrity, they also held to standards of innovative, forward-thinking solutions, environmental sustainability, and a sense of workplace camaraderie and fun that established their business as a beneficial place for its employees. That combination of expanding business and appealing work environment meant they would need to prepare for a new space that comfortably accommodates a workforce that had the potential to grow by double if not more.


The Solution

Aura’s team collaborated with RAM to address their specific needs in ways that handled both concerns — rapid expansion and worker-friendly environment — in overlapping ways. Dedicated lounge areas not only added to the office’s footprint but were situated and arranged in ways that would enable easy communication and socialization between members of the staff. The line between traditional meeting rooms and social spaces was erased thanks to the unobtrusive but accessible placement of furnishings like couches and foosball tables. And the wide variety of seating, desks, and tables gave off an uncluttered, versatile sense that work could be done just about anywhere in the office.


The Outcome

Aura’s ability to create a bespoke space that paid attention to both form and function benefitted RAM in the long run. With their myriad teams consolidated into the same space, the company’s ability to facilitate freer and wider communication between different groups has bolstered their workplace’s focus on collaborative empowerment. And the lively, attractive decor underscores RAM’s commitment to giving employees a welcoming place to work.

You can see more in Aura’s online portfolio, and contact us to see how we can help your business, too!

Project Case Study – Binnie

Binnie is a Burnaby, BC based company that specializes in engineering effective infrastructure growth and development solutions. They’re leaders in using engineering and technology-based solutions to build, support, and connect communities – and they’ve been doing so since the late 1960’s.


Square Footage

This project was a 26,000 square feet in scope, so the team at Aura had to nail down an innovative and expansive floor plan design fairly quickly. The design department needed to understand the needs and adjacencies of all of Binnie’s departments within a small window of time.

Why Did Binnie Choose Aura?

As a team, Aura had to work quickly to understand the client’s space and budget. We used value engineering to get this project moving forward in a timely fashion.

Binnie is a great example of a client that knew what they wanted, and this project wasn’t without its challenges – but having clear concise instructions from the client helped make this project a success. Aura’s ability to interweave meaningful communication with professional experience and knowledge of the clients wishes allowed us to collaborate exceptionally well.

Binnie understood that to make a significant improvement to company culture, there had to be a connection to authenticity, home, professionalism, and to pride of place. We worked together to harness the power of genuine employee spaces in the form of a small kitchen to elevate comfort, and warmth.

Stellar use of colour theory and the inclusion of greenery helped push this project above and beyond to develop an ironclad company culture employees can be proud to call theirs.


The Completed Project

The completed project balances the Linea Grille ceiling and wall details in the main lobby by emulating birch wood and exposed concrete columns to provide a dynamic textural contrast throughout the space.

Angled walls were used in specific locations to add visual interest and breaks to the layout, while simultaneously helping solidify the identity and visual branding cues of the company. The angular modernity continues in the aesthetic of the birch capped office counter, using the grain and natural inconsistencies of the wood grain to expose the natural beauty of the material.

Flooring transitions from carpet to poured concrete were made easy thanks to 5mm LVT.

We also integrated breakout spaces from large multi-functional training rooms, creating small 1-2 person breakout rooms that are placed throughout the space allowing for private conversation and increased productivity. These spaces are custom tailored to allow employees to bring their own technology to seamlessly boost mobile collaboration.



Aura was able to address identified problems by integrating a hybridized approach combining the design techniques and principles of:

  • Space planning
  • Workplace Strategy
  • Concept design
  • Site Survey & Analysis
  • Project Management
  • Construction Management
  • Move Management