The first, the largest and the most research-friendly. Under is the world’s largest underwater restaurant with a total seating capacity for 100 guests, it’s the first of its kind in Europe, and it also functions as a research center for marine life. The Snøhetta-designed dining experience started operating just yesterday but people are already adding it to their Norway destination lists.
More info: snohetta.com
In Norwegian, ‘under’ means both ‘below’ and ‘wonder.’ Half-sunken into the sea, the building’s 111-foot long monolithic form breaks the surface of the water to rest on the seabed below. Taking it a step further, the structure is built to eventually fully integrate into its marine environment, as the roughness of the concrete shell will function as an artificial reef, welcoming limpets and kelp to inhabit it.
Thick concrete walls allow it to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions and, like a sunken periscope, the restaurant’s massive panoramic window offers a view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions.
“Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries,” Snøhetta Founder and Architect, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen said. “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.”
The restaurant focuses to create a fine dining experience based on high quality, locally-sourced produce, emphasizing on sustainable wildlife capture. Danish expatriate Nicolai Ellitsgaard from the acclaimed restaurant Måltid in Kristiansand is the Head Chef, bringing an international, 16-person kitchen team with experience from top Michelin restaurants.
In Norway, Lindesnes is known for its intense weather conditions, which can change from calm to stormy several times a day. Upon arriving at the site, the visitor’s impressions of the unruly outdoors quickly dissolve as they are ushered through into the hushed, oak-clad foyer. The rich interiors create a warm, welcoming atmosphere inside the restaurant.
As a metaphor for descending from land to sea, textile-clad ceiling panels reference the colors of a sunset dropping into the ocean, accompanying one climbing down the stairs. Moreover, the elegance of the finely woven ceiling panels provides the building with a serene ambiance.