The long-awaited underwater restaurant designed by the Norwegian architectural firm, Snøhetta, is now open to the public. Under, the “world’s largest underwater restaurant” and Europe’s first underwater restaurant plunges from a craggy shoreline in the remote village of Baly, Norway.
This underwater restaurant resembles a sunken periscope and designed to be as simple as possible. Under is a 34-meter rectangular prism that is slightly submerged under the sea and has a total seating capacity for 100 guests. The word ‘under,’ which means both ‘below’ and ‘wonder’ in Norwegian.
From a distance, the restaurant on Norway’s southern coast looks like a large concrete tube partly submerged in the North Sea.
On March 20, the Norwegian architectural firm, Snøhetta has announced on Instagram that Europe’s First Underwater Restaurant opened the doors to its dramatically beautiful hideaway – and it’s like any other fine dining experience on Earth.
According to Snøhetta’s social media post:
“Today marks the official opening of “Under”, Europe’s first and the world’s biggest underwater restaurant, designed by Snøhetta. Half-sunken into the sea, the building’s 34-meter long monolithic form breaks the surface of the water to rest directly on the seabed five meters below.
The structure is designed to fully integrate into its marine environment over time, as the roughness of the concrete shell will function as an artificial reef, welcoming limpets and kelp to inhabit it.”
The Norwegian firm continued:
“With the thick concrete walls lying against the craggy shoreline, the structure is built to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions. Like a sunken periscope, the restaurant’s massive window offers a view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions.
The building also functions as a research center for marine life, providing a tribute to the wild fauna of the sea and to the rocky coastline of Norway’s southern tip.”
The lead architect of Under, Rune Grasdal said:
“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.”
“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,” he continued.
Rune Grasdal added:
“The idea was to make a tube that would bring people from above sea level down under the sea. 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.”
This underwater restaurant not only offers a unique dining experience, but it is also intended to inform the public about the biodiversity of the sea as it will double as a research center for marine biologists.