Have you ever fantasized eating dinner with the fishes? Have you ever dreamed of indulging your favorite food with coral reefs at your horizon? These may sound like a thing of fiction but what if I tell you it is not. Built in Norway, the appropriately named “Under” is the world’s largest underwater restaurant and the first of its kind in all of Europe. It has a total capacity of 100 guests and it also functions as a research center for marine life in that particular area. The Snøhetta-designed dining experience started operating just this year but people have already regarded it as a must visit destination in Norway.
This unbelievably beautiful underwater restaurant is named ‘under’ not just because it is below the sea but also because it is a thing of wonder. In Norwegian, ‘under’ means both of those things. The building’s 111-foot long monolithic form breaks the surface of the water to rest on the seabed below making it half-sunken into the sea. The structure is built as well with the target of fully integrating marine environment with it seamlessly in the future. It has been designed marvelously by exceptional architects and marine professionals alike to be able to welcome marine life to inhabit it.
With its thick concrete walls, it can confidently withstand the pressure and shock from any sea conditions. They have also made it sure that visitors and customers can enjoy the view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions by integrating a huge panoramic window on the restaurant itself, serving like a sunken periscope as seen in the image below.
Snøhetta Founder and Architect stated: “Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries,” while Kjetil Trædal Thorsen has said that: “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 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.” He added. The restaurant and the whole building may look out of this world but just like any restaurant, its main goal is still to create a fine dining experience for its customers. The restaurant’s food is based on high quality, locally-sourced produce, emphasizing on sustainable wildlife capture. They have also made it sure to hire the most sought out chefs internationally mainly; Danish expatriate Nicolai Ellitsgaard from the acclaimed restaurant Måltid in Kristiansand. He serves as the head chef with a 16-person kitchen team with experience from top Michelin restaurants.
Here is some of their highly acclaimed cuisine:
The ceiling and the furniture perfectly represent the whole project’s philosophy; to be able to build solid structures without sacrificing the natural beauty of the raw materials used. The materials are interwoven expertly that successfully gives off a calming and serene ambiance that completely compliments with the view of the ocean outside.
But ‘Under’ is not just a simple restaurant housed under the sea. It also serves as a marine research facility. Marine life is studied by research teams that come here that enable them to document the population, behavior, and diversity of species that live in the surrounding areas of the restaurant. The goal of their research is to collect enough data that they may use in programming machine learning tools that can successfully monitor the population dynamics of key marine species on a regular basis efficiently and cost-effectively
Snøhetta has mentioned that ‘Under’ is a story of contrasts: the contrast between the landscape and the sea just like the above and below. This structure has been a delicate example of the balance between land and sea that draws our attention to the fact that we can create something beautiful without the sacrifice of the nature around us. This project has emphasized the coexistence of life land and sea creatures in a way that its visitors can understand their relationship with their very own surroundings.