Europe’s first underwater restaurant opened on 20 March at the southernmost tip of the Norwegian coast, in Lindesnes, where north and south sea storms converge.
Designed by the firm Snøhetta, it is not only a restaurant, but also a marine research center, addressing the fauna of the waters and rocky coasts of southern Norway. Under, as it is called, was built the way ships are built: a concrete shell was constructed 20 meters away from the eventual location, and once the structure was ready, it was moved there by means of derricks and ships on tow as it floated.
The 34-meter-long box is partly sunken in the sea, breaking the surface of the water and made to function like an artificial reef that will become part of its environment as algae and leeches attach themselves to it. The structure is designed to withstand the pressure and the movements of the sea in the most adverse conditions, while inside, where a large window gives diners a view of the bottom of the sea, reigns an atmophere of calm and wonder.
“Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries,” says Snøhetta founder and architect Kjetil Traedal Thorsen. “In this building, you may find yourself under water, 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.”