Underwater Restaurant Designed by Snøhetta Is the First of its Kind in Europe

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Experience underwater dining at Under, the first-of-its-kind restaurant in Europe designed by the Norwegian firm Snøhetta, located in Lindesnes in Norway. This is on the southernmost point of the Norwegian Coastline. Under intends to integrate the marine life around it, and also serves as a research centre for marine biology.  

The simple rectangular form of the restaurant’s structure lies in sharp contrast with the jagged shoreline of the sea. A full-length glass wall measuring 11m by 3.4m offers an unobstructed view of the sea. Half of its 34m long monolithic structure is submerged underwater to rest on the 5m deep seabed while the other half protrudes above water. The rocky coastline also adds to the charm of the restaurant while the rough exterior acts as an artificial coral reef.

Underwater Restaurant Designed by Snøhetta Is the First of its Kind in Europe

Customers enter through a foyer covered in the welcoming warmth of oak. The ambience of the world above is introduced by ceiling panels that are the colours of the sunset. Here, one can experience the contrast between the above and below, land and sea. 

Snohetta has collaborated with local craftsmen to design furniture, especially chairs to mimic branches growing out of tree stems. These form the central artefact. The restaurant can accommodate 35-40 guests every night and is shielded from the unpredictable currents by half-meter thick concrete walls.

The Baltic Sea and the Atlantic ocean create a watersmeet which creates an opportunity for the study of aquatic life and marine biology. Cameras and tools are attached to the outside facade of the buildings for research on the population, behaviour and diversity of the species around the restaurant. Because the water at the site can be both briny and brackish from the two seas it facilitates abundant natural biodiversity.

Newly released images by photographer Tim Koch show how Under has evolved to be one with nature within 3 years of its construction. The shell of the restaurant has become home to limpets and kelp; collaboration with owners and marine biologists has made it possible for the chef to harvest fresh food from the roof like mussels and other ingredients not used in conventional menus.

Since the construction, stones have been added to the seabed thus creating a better breeding ground, food, and shelter for various species. Over the last few years, researchers have been able to use the space to study underwater life up close without causing any disturbance.

Fact File

Project Name: Under

Location: Lindesnes, Norway

Area: 495msq

Firm Name: Snohetta

Year: 2016-2019

Image Credits: Snohetta, Timon Koch

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