Inspired by underwater journey, Under is the first underwater restaurant to carry a truly unique concept. Located at the southernmost point of the Norwegian coastline, the place where the seas from the north and south meet. Marine species thrive here, in both salty and brackish waters resulting in naturally abundant biodiversity around the site. Designed by Snøhetta, the project also serves as a marine life research center, paying homage to the wild fauna and rocky coastline of Norway’s far south.
“Under” Design Concept
According to the Norwegian term, “under” has a double meaning of “below” and “wonder”. The restaurant takes the form of a 34-meter-long monolithic building that half sinks into the sea, breaking the surface of the water to stop at the seabed five meters below. This structure was designed to blend into its marine environment over time, as part of the underwater structure also functions as an artificial reef. The walls are made up of thick concrete that clings to the rugged coastline, this structure serves to withstand the pressure and shock of the harsh sea conditions. At first glance, the restaurant looks like a submerged periscope, the restaurant’s large windows also offer views of the sea floor that changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions.
According to Architect
According to Snøhetta founder and architect, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. “Below is a natural progression from our experiment with boundaries.”
“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, above the seabed, between land and sea. It will give you new perspectives and ways to see the world, both outside and below the surface of the water.”
Restaurant Facilities and Menu
Like most seafood restaurants, the under can accommodate 35 to 40 diners each night. Apart from having a fairly spacious room, the guests are protected by a half meter thick concrete wall. Its culinary focus is on creating fine dining experiences based on high quality local produce, with a particular emphasis on sustainable wildlife emphasis. Danish expat Nicolai Ellitsgaard of renowned restaurant Måltid in Kristiansand is the Head Chef, bringing in a 16-person international kitchen team with experience from top Michelin restaurants.
Have marine research facilities
Not only as the first underwater restaurant, Under also has a marine research building facility. The restaurant will welcome an interdisciplinary team of researchers studying marine biology and fish behavior, through cameras and other measuring devices installed inside and outside the restaurant’s facades. The purpose of this study is to document the population, behavior, and diversity of species that live around the restaurant, through cameras and direct observations. In addition, researchers also collect data that can be programmed into machine learning tools that monitor population dynamics of major marine species on a regular basis, thereby improving the management of official marine resources.