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Behind The Scenes

Jacob Melinger and Alan Paukman, Bone Collectors

When the two very thoughtful guys behind Nikolai Rose started contemplating ways to add some texture and contrast to their silver men’s accessories—killer tie bars, un-preppy cufflinks, subtle necklaces—they had no interest in anything semi-precious. “We wanted another variable without just going a gem store and buying a consistently-cut stone,” explains Alan Paukman, who, with his partner Jacob Melinger, decided to make the most of a material that would otherwise hit the kitchen waste bin. Alan: We get the bone from butchers—some of it is from Esposito’s in Hell’s Kitchen and some is from Ottomanelli. It’s something natural, and it’s also something that would’ve been thrown away otherwise. Also, jewelry has been made out of bone for a really long time, but we don’t see a lot in contemporary stuff. We always try to have tradition in mind when we’re designing. Jacob: There’s a process of boiling the bones and stripping them down and degreasing them. It’s kind of gross. From there, I’ll take a band saw and cut one down, so it’s smaller. For example, for the necklaces, I cut it into strips, cut those in half, and use files and a dremel to sand them . Alan: We made three of these bracelets for a Bill Blass collection. They’re very small. They only fit models. Make sure you don’t miss out on the edition Alan and Jacob made for Of a Kind: There are only 25 tie bars available!
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The Nikolai Rose Guys do the Upper West Side

Jacob Melinger and Alan Paukman, the duo behind the sleek, sophisticated men’s accessories line Nikolai Rose, grew up on New York’s Upper West Side. They went to school there. And now they work there, from a studio space in a grand old building in the seventies. Here’s where, according to Jacob, they head when they feel like staying local. Big Nick’s Burger and Pizza Joint“Big Nick’s is New York. This rugged burger and pizza dive actually has a menu like a phone book, no joke. We still can’t figure out where they keep all the different food that they offer. Unlike many late-night spots, the juicy burgers are just as good mid-day as they are at 3:30 AM when we’re chasing deadlines at the studio.” (2175 Broadway, 212-362-9238; bignicksnyc.com) Lincoln Plaza Cinemas“This underground theater is one of the only places to catch indie and foreign films. It’s small and has a lot of character. There are lots of pre- and post-film food options in a one-block radius, and there’s a courtyard at ground level that is perfect for sitting and chatting. We’re often the youngest ones there by decades, but the regulars are experienced in quality cinema.” (1886 Broadway, 212-757-2280; lincolnplazacinema.com)American Museum of Natural History“Where to start? The earliest memories we have of the museum involve eating dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets in the downstairs cafe. The permanent exhibitions have always been an endless source of inspiration, and we’ve even used the museum as a photo-shoot location [see above]. There is a stillness in the dimly lit galleries that transforms you to another mindset, blocking out the cars and rush outside.” (Central Park West at 79th St., 212-769-5100; amnh.org)Westsider Books“We go out of our way to check Westsider Books first whenever we’re looking for a rare or used book, and their sister store Westsider Records isn’t too bad either. There’s something about the old library smell, the touch of worn pages, the dusty carpets, and the clutter that makes it worth it, and every time we walk in, we end up browsing for an hour.” (2246 Broadway, 212-362-0706; westsiderbooks.com) Freedom Tunnels / Riverside Park / Bike Path“We constantly find ourselves returning to this Hudson River embankment. The Freedom Tunnels have a rich cultural and societal history and are emblematic of the Upper West Side’s (literal) underbelly. Although harder than it used to be, it’s still possible to sneak in with a camera or can of paint. For times when we prefer to be above ground, the bike path is the best place to ride on the island—in spots, the path is inches from the water.”Cafe Luxembourg“This is one of the only places in the neighborhood (outside of our studio) that makes a decent cocktail. Sitting at the huge-yet-intimate, zinc-topped bar is a joy. We usually don’t make it past drinks, but their bistro classics have a good reputation.” (200 W. 70th St., 212-873-7411; cafeluxembourg.com) Score the tie bar that the guys made us from their UWS studio right over here.
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Jacob and Alan Get Creative

Jacob Melinger and Alan Paukman focus on designing men’s jewelry and ties, but their work is hardly confined to the fashion realm. You might find the name of their company Nikolai Rose in the credits of a music video, say, or on an art installation. “We have pretty diverse and well-rounded backgrounds, in terms of creative education, so we felt kind of limited just doing accessories,” says Alan. “We have a second side of the company where we do projects unrelated to the line—like a creative-agency arm of the company.” Here, three such undertakings they’re most excited about. Turns out a tie bar and a doorknob can have a lot in common. Check out the sleek, wearable piece the duo created for us—just 25 of them! Alan: We’ve been working with a company called Nanz that does high-end custom doorknobs. The co-founder and CEO came across some of our metalwork about two years ago and saw promise in it, and we’ve been working together ever since. Jacob: We just had a book come out called From the Silence of Duchamp to the Noise of Boys that we designed and illustrated.Alan: A friend of ours who is a poet came to us with a manuscript and asked us to turn it into a book. The gallery and book publisher OHWOW caught on to the project and published the book earlier this summer. Alan: We were creative directors for this band called The Postelles for about two years. We did everything from identity and branding to production design on music videos.
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