Located at the southern most point of the Norwegian coastline, the restaurant “Under” has recently opened their doors to deliver a truly one of a kind dining experience. Under sits five and a half meters (18 feet) below Norway’s icy ocean waters. Having to balance comfort and security, the buildings periscope like construction is designed with an open floor plan complete with large windows to the outside world. Offering panoramic views of the underwater sea bed, these large openings act as a portal to guests, connecting them to the lively surrounding environment. Not only is this marvelous piece of architecture a restaurant, but with time the exterior walls will be inhabited by the oceans flora and fauna doubling as an artificial reef.
“Under” is a homonym in Norwegian, meaning both “below” and “wonder”, a fitting description of the half-sunken 111 foot monolith.
Under isn’t just a restaurant, it also is also marine research facility.
Through cameras and other measurement tools fitted to the exterior walls, marine biologists will be able to monitor the fish populations and study the fauna of the sea.
Given time, the rough texture of the outer walls will be inhabited by kelp and limpets sustaining an artificial reef.
These exterior walls are half a meter (1.5 feet) thick, able to withstand the harsh and ever-changing Norwegian climate.
“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.” Under states on their website.
Offering multiple views to the outside world, Under will not let you forget that you are submerged in the frigid waters of Norway.
The building has been designed in consideration of this natural world it is surrounded by. It offers the marine life a place to cling to in order to grow and thrive.
The ceiling is made of colorful clad textiles representing a sunset over the ocean, a metaphor for guests descending above land into the sea.
The chairs are constructed by a local Norwegian carpenter. Designed as one continuous form that resembles the way branches naturally stem away from a tree trunk.
The restaurant and part marine research facility was created to bring attention to “sustainable models for responsible consumption”.
They continue, “In this way, Under provides a journey into the unknown. Each guest will be given a unique opportunity to experience a submerged universe, exploring marine life in ways they otherwise may never see.”
The architect company responsible for designing and building the facility, Snohetta, strives to enhance our sense of surroundings in every space we inhabit.
“Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries”, says Snøhetta Founder and Architect, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.
They certainly accomplished that at Under, it was voted one of the top 10 coolest places to eat by Forbes.
“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,” Rune Grasdal, lead architect of Under, told Dezeen. “If the weather is bad, it’s very rough. It’s a great experience, and to sit here and be safe, allowing the nature so close into you. It’s a very romantic and nice experience.”
“The idea was to make a tube that would bring people from above sea level down under the sea,” Grasdal said. “That transition is easy to understand, but it’s also the most effective way to do it. It also feels secure, but you don’t feel trapped.”
Under only welcomes 35 to 40 guests each night to ensure the ultimate dining experience.
Putting a large emphasis on sustainable wildlife capture, the restaurant’s menu is fixed for all guests.
This allows the kitchen to arrange each plate with fresh produce from sea to table.
Ensuring only the highest quality of ingredients, most of the food served at Under is caught or grown locally in Norway.
The kitchen is staffed with 16 chefs that have experience at top Michelin restaurants so the food is nothing short of delectable.
Under believes that dining alongside the sea life further develops their guests understanding of the food they are being served.
This claim is supported by the large acrylic windows found throughout the restaurant displaying the outside world.
Through these windows one might find schools of fish, crystal jellyfish, starfish, seals, or any other sea life inhabiting the area.
This elegant restaurant is sure to leave any patron satisfied, people are giving it a rating of nearly five stars on Google. The way Under has incorporated a restaurant with marine research facility and an artificial reef is certainly distinctive. Not only is this the worlds first underwater restaurant, but the architecture alone is unparalleled. This cutting edge experience is not a cheap one, though. Many people report spending between $250-$400 per seat. Is it worth it? Book a table at under.no and let us know.