David Buffery, the busy founder of Sketch, uses the smaller jobs to experiment with new concepts In this business, you tend to work on several projects at the same time, each taking up to a year, from start to finish. Because all projects are done in phases, I can't look at work from a day-by-day perspective. It's usually week by week. I sit down with my four staff every Monday morning and we discuss how we are going to get through the week. I brief them to make sure we are all focused on what to do. Do I visit this project tomorrow morning or this afternoon? When can I meet this particular client or that one? What meetings do I have to personally attend? Who is looking after this aspect of a job? Hopefully I manage to keep all clients happy and can find time to sit down and draw, and take a longer-term look at marketing and where the next job is coming from. Most new jobs come from referrals from previous jobs. When I went into business on my own last year I called my company Sketch, because that is what I do. I have one sketchbook for every project, and I take it with me everywhere. We start a project by coming up with a concept for a bar, club, restaurant, hotel guest room or whatever fits into the available space. Getting approval from the client is the most stressful part. But work doesn't stop after you come up with a concept and the client buys into it. After that we have to sort out the details and draft plans for the contractors who do the construction, from working out where the best places are for lights, switches and air conditioners, to getting the fabrics, carpets and furniture made. We have to check samples from factories and look after the quality control and delivery. These issues must be considered and sometimes adjusted on a daily basis. In the end, we finally dress the place up, accessorising it with artwork, pots and plants or whatever else is in the plan. Clients are more willing to take risks these days. They let you get on with it, which allows for more creativity in my daily working life. I've just finished the Zeta Bar at the Hilton Beijing, which is totally off-the-wall. It is probably the most bizarre thing I've done to date. There are bird cages behind the bar, with the carpet appearing to be covered in escaped birds. You even climb into a bird cage to go to the toilet. I also like to keep my hand in with small jobs like bars. A lot of designers are turning them down because they are busy with bigger projects. But I still do them. They give me a chance to experiment with new concepts, and this keeps my mind fresh and ready to tackle each day. The demand is not only in Hong Kong but also mainland China, which is booming. Macau is keeping a lot of people busy as well, with all the new casino developments. A lot of Hong Kong designers are working on projects there now and I'm caught up in it as well. I'm now spending half my time there, doing 1,500 hotel rooms in a casino development and the first Fashion TV club in Asia. They are both in the early design stage, so I'm spending a lot of my time in Macau now, discussing concepts with the clients every day. This basically summarises the hectic world of the interior design industry in Hong Kong at the moment. Everyone is busy and every day is unique. I am always working on something different, with a new challenge from one day to the next. But it's so busy right now, I'm exhausted. I seriously need a holiday.