Europe’s first underwater restaurant is complete and now welcoming guests below the North Sea in Lindesnes, Norway. The Snøhetta-designed “Under” lies partially submerged on the coast of southern Norway, terminating in a dining room 16 feet below the ocean’s surface.
The restaurant and marine biology research station is wrapped in thick concrete for its entire length, creating an imposing, 111-foot-long “periscope.” The concrete at the lowest portion is one-and-a-half feet thick feet and surrounds a 36-foot-long, 11-foot-tall window wall in the dining room that provides guests with a view of the ocean floor. The structure’s finish was kept deliberately coarse to encourage mussels to anchor to the building, so that the structure will eventually grow into a reef and purify the surrounding water.
Construction on the concrete monolith was done on a barge off-shore before the structure was lifted to its final home and tilted into place.
Inside, Snøhetta chose to utilize materials that intentionally emphasize the transition from Lindesnes’s harsh environment to the dreamy marine world below. The oak-wrapped entrance gives way to ceiling panels clad in textile that gradually change color, which Snøhetta claims is “a metaphor for the journey of descending from land to sea.” Speckled terrazzo floors reference the mottled sea floor visible from the dining area.
Under is expected to welcome 35-to-40 diners every evening, but when not in use as a restaurant, the building will act as a hub for studying the local marine life. The sea around Lindesnes is extremely biodiverse, and researchers will use an array of cameras and sensors mounted on the facade to document the population and behavior of local fish. That information will in part be used by the kitchen to help determine how to sustainably harvest sea life from the surrounding area.
Interested in dining underwater and don’t mind a trip to Norway? Under is now taking reservations.