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at{mine} founding members Annie Kruse and Tiffany Grant-Riley got to know each other through at{mine} when we had our very first community event – then still in invite-only beta – at{West Elm} a little over a year ago. Now they have joined forces to create Function and Form, a series of collaborative gatherings that combine informal dining with handcrafted design, which we are proud to support. The inaugural gathering is taking place at{Heal’s} later this month.

We caught up with Tiffany, an interior stylist and the blogger behind Curate & Display, and Annie, a graphic designer, creative mind behind the Stylejuicer blog and founder of kids label Wild Boys & Girls. We also invited both to style a table setting for November’s #StyleAtMine challenge, using products by our brand partner, iconic British cook ware label Falcon Enamel.

Hi Tiff & Annie! Tell us a little bit about yourself!

We might look like the polar opposite of each other but we found (and keep finding) some curious common ground since at{mine} threw us together for a fun styling challenge just over a year ago. Our friendship grew from a shared love of contemporary design, coffee houses and concrete structures and we both obsess about imagery in the broadest sense. As much as we love social media we’re both acutely aware that nothing beats a face-to-face meet up, although for us that often means Skype!

You’re launching Function+Form this month, what was your inspiration behind it?

T: Essentially, Function+Form came from a need to connect with like-minded people and encourage collaboration. Working from home or as a freelancer (in this case we’re both) it can feel incredibly isolating even if you have a strong sense of community online. Occasionally as a blogger you’ll be thrown together at an event but it’s all very rushed and not always well organised, so I wanted to hold an event with intention that was aesthetically pleasing with a strong design element but also feel relaxed and open to our guests.

What can the guests expect from your inaugural event?

First and foremost we want to create an environment that’s relaxed, comfortable and intimate which is why we’ve given a lot of thought to the venue and setting at Forge & Co in Heal’s. We’d like everyone to feel at ease and enjoy the company of like-minded friends, make new connections but also use our gathering as a platform to share the work of independent designers both new and established. For us it’s a really important part of Function+Form, to focus on smaller designer/makers. Our first event will introduce British potter Jono Smart and linen apron designer Sarah Quinn of Enrich & Endure who we can’t wait to welcome and hear more about their creative journeys during our morning. Our stylings are based on our topic of ‘hibernation’ and along with our partners which include 31 Chapel Lane and Concrete Jungles, we’ll be creating an autumnal feel inside the industrial space of Forge & Co. As we all share more or less a similar clean and contemporary aesthetic which we hope will form the basis for a nurturing and relaxed environment on the day and a blueprint for further events.

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A styling by Tiffany, showcasing her clean and contemporary aesthetic

November is all about Table Settings on at{mine}; how do you go about styling a beautiful table?

A: I love setting the table for a get together with family and friends and try to treat the napkins in a creative way, by incorporating a piece of greenery, a twig or herb, or using some unorthodox material as a loose tie. In fact the other day I used tea towels instead of napkins which gave a lovely rustic look. I’m not a big fan of formal meals and prefer to have sharing platters as starters and fresh bread on one of my (too) many wooden boards. Low church style candles add to the relaxed feel as do some stylish salt and pepper grinders and a beautiful water vessel.

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Annie’s relaxed table setting with Falcon enamel ware

T: I’m a former wedding planner, so table styling was a huge part of my work. From a practical perspective you need to decide what it is you’re serving and how before you start looking at details as this affects the space you have available. From a personal perspective though, I love informal set-ups to encourage sharing, with long tables and benches, linen tablecloths and simple touches like a pot of herbs or a stem of a favourite flower on each napkin (ranunculus or anemone please). Less fuss, more focus on your guests and the food.

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Tiffany’s table setting using Falcon enamelware

What’s your favourite meal of the day?

A: Dinner with my partner after the kids have gone to bed where we can relax, savour and take our time chatting through the day’s events.

T: We eat all our meals together as a family with an early dinner so that once the kids are in bed I can catch up with whatever I can’t do during the day (I work on my blog most evenings) but on the odd occasion that we have time together, then it’s dinner where we can eat what we want and slow down.

Who would be your dream guests to sit at your table?

A: I’d love to have some interesting characters from the creative community for dinner. People like Iris Apfel, Karl Lagerfeld or Vogue’s Grace Coddington would be dream guests as their strong opinions divide and spark controversy. Oh and let’s not forget George Clooney – obviously for his brilliant mind!

T: Annie picked three of my choices already, but hands down-Jimi Hendrix. The man was a musical genius but didn’t take himself too seriously. I think I may spend the entire meal staring at him though…To bring some serious style to the table it’d have to be designer Ilsa Crawford for her natural aesthetic and connection to the emotional side of design and living. And Erykah Badu, I’ve followed her music career since I was 12 years old and still continue to admire her, she’s a strong woman.

Thank you Annie & Tiff!