Named 'Under', the restaurant is located in the southern tip of the country. Half of this three-level restaurant is submerged underwater while the other half rests on jagged rocks.
A restaurant in Norway is getting all the attention of the world lately. But it is for good reasons - it's unlike any other restaurant one may have come across. Located in the southernmost point of the country, half of the restaurant rests on jagged rocks on the coastline and the majority of it is submerged underwater. It is the first underwater restaurant in Europe and it specializes in fine dining. The restaurant has been named 'Under', which in Norwegian has a dual meaning - below as well as wonder. One look from afar and the restaurant almost looks like a gigantic block of wood that has been washed near the coastline. But don't be fooled because when you take a look inside, the restaurant is an epitome of luxury. At the same time, it is also rooted in local Norwegian culture and tradition. The restaurant serves food sourced from high quality and local produce with a special emphasis on sustainable wildlife capture according to Snohetta.com. Based in Lindesnes, it was thrown open just a week back and its location also represents a 'unique confluence' where sea storms from the north and south meet. At the same time, it is also a place where marine life flourishes in both the briny as well as brackish waters and this is a habitat for an abundance in biodiversity at the site.
It is no wonder then that the restaurant also serves as a research center for marine life - a perfect tribute to the wild fauna of the sea and to the rocky coastline of Norway’s southern tip. The restaurant has a 34-meter long monolithic form that breaks the surface of the water and rests on the seabed five meters below. Sustainability has been weaved into the architecture of the restaurant since the structure has been designed in such a way so as to integrate into its marine environment over time.
According to Snohetta.com the roughness of the concrete shell is designed to function as an artificial reef, welcoming sea creatures such as kelp and limpets to inhabit it. Though located in one of the areas with the roughest seas, the restaurant is protected by a thick wall of concrete that is built against the craggy shoreline. The structure can withstand high amounts of pressure and shock from the rugged sea. Similar to a sunken periscope, the restaurant has a massive window that offers a view of the seabed where people can see the changes in the seas, the seasons and weather conditions.
As many as 35 to 40 guests can be seated at the restaurant at one time. The dining room is protected by a concrete wall of around half a meter thick in of a thickness. The Head Chef at the restaurant is none other than Danish expatriate, Nicolai Ellitsgaard who also runs the acclaimed restaurant Måltid in Kristiansand. His team includes 16 other experienced members from across the world who have been trained by top chefs and worked in Michelin rated restaurants.
According to Deezen.com, Under is also the "world's biggest underwater restaurant." The restaurant has three levels that include a foyer, cloakroom, champagne bar and main restaurant on the lower floor. Giant oak staircase joins the three floors. The highlight of the restaurant is the panoramic acrylic window that can be seen by people on all three floors. The window measures 11 by three meters, spanning the length of the entire wall of the restaurant.
There is also a vertical window in the champagne bar that also punctures the wall. This further extends down to the restaurant giving guests a view of the sea level. Rune Grasdal, lead architect of Under, told Dezeen, "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."
He further added, "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 into you. It's a very romantic and nice experience." Walls at the entrance is made of untreated oak. It will fade into grey tones overtime to complement the raw concrete. The oak continues inside the building, where the interior finishes are intended to contrast with the exterior. This creates a very warm and cozy atmosphere that prevents the feeling of claustrophobia, the Deezen article said. Charred oak tables are teamed with angular chairs and ceramics designed by a local artist using sand from the seabed.
Under's architect is the design firm, Snøhetta. Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founder and architect, Snohetta, said, “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 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”.
Ready to book your table in the ocean yet?