Sea-lovers searching for a unique dining experience need looking no further. Under, in Norway, is the first underwater restaurant in Europe and the largest in the world.
Designed by Snøhetta, it does not only serve guests but also works as a marine research center. For sure, it deserves to be on our bucket lists.
A Unique Piece Of Architecture
A huge, solid block emerging from the surface of the sea: this is not something you have seen before. The 111-foot long building sits on the seabed below and integrates beautifully with the landscape.
In Norwegian, Under means both 'below' and 'wonder', and no name could be more appropriate. Just look at it.
In the future, the restaurant will blend even more with the environment, as limpets and kelp start making it their home. Its rough concrete will become an artificial reef and welcome marine life.
A Masterpiece Of Design
While thick walls keep it safe from the rough sea, the inside looks peaceful and warm. In the hall, a tall panoramic window offers a view of the surrounding seabed and the life moving on it.
Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, architect and founder of Snøhetta, explained:
"Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries. As a new landmark for Southern Norway, Under proposes unexpected combinations of pronouns and prepositions, and challenges what determines a person's physical placement in their environment."
"In this modern architecture building, you may find yourself underwater, over the seabed, between land and sea. This will offer you new perspectives and ways of seeing the world, both beyond and beneath the waterline."
A Fine Dining Experience
Naturally, the food experience is also perfect in every detail. With Nicolai Ellitsgaard from praised restaurant Måltid in Kristiansand as the Head Chef, it could not be otherwise.
The dishes focus on high-quality food that is sustainable and local. Following the concept of the restaurant, all is in harmony with nature.
A Warm Interior Design
Coming from the stormy, unpredictable weather outside, entering the restaurant is like descending into a warm, safe den. The wooden interiors and soft lighting create a welcoming atmosphere to greet the guests.
The colors also have their part, emphasizing the change from the surface to the seafloor. Everything, from the shades to the natural materials, contributes to a sense of serenity.
The furniture is also in wood and its solid, simple forms fit in perfectly with the ambiance. Truly, every small detail is impeccable.
A Center For Research
There is more to Under than meets the eye. In fact, the restaurant is also a research center for studies on marine life.
Teams of researchers will be able to study life and its changes thanks to cameras outside the structure. This will allow them to observe fish and other sea creatures closely.
The project aims at gathering data about species and population dynamics. Using machine learning tools, researchers will be able to monitor changes in sea life.
A Story Of Contrast
In the vision of Snøhetta, everything about Under is contrast. Above and below, human-made and nature, sea and land all meet in this amazing project.
Rune Grasdal, lead architect for the restaurant, explained:
"For most of us, this is a totally new world experience. It's not an aquarium. It's the wildlife of the North Sea. That makes it much more interesting. It takes you directly into the wildness. If the weather is bad, it's very rough. It's a great experience and to sit here and be safe, allowing nature so close to you. It's a very romantic and nice experience."
"The idea was to make a tube that would bring people from above sea level down under the sea. That transition is easy to understand, but it's also the most effective way to do it. It also feels secure, but you don't feel trapped."
Visiting Under would definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For now, we can start dreaming of a magical dinner under the sea.