“Under” – Europe’s First Underwater Restaurant

“Under”, designed by Snøhetta, is Europe’s first underwater restaurant. It is housed in Lindesnes, Norway, and first opened to the public yesterday. Under serves as both a restaurant and as a research centre for marine life. The structure itself is a monolithic slab of concrete that juts out of the sea strikingly. Half of the structure forms itself against the rock, while the other half submerges itself below the depths of the North Sea.

The structure itself in time will become an artificial reef. Marine life flourishes on the southern coast of Norway, especially around Lindesnes, where sea storms from the north and south meet. The entrance to the restaurant is clad in oak wood which acts a stark contrast to the rugged natural exterior of the rocks and dark waters. The inside of the restaurant is more inviting, with an ethereal blue/green glow coming through a huge window that peers out over the ocean bed. The interiors, however, create a welcoming warmth to customers.

The restaurant itself houses 35-40 people per night and focusses on local cuisine, sustainably and ethically sourced.

Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founder and architect, Snøhetta, said, “Under is a natural progression of our experimentation 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, 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.”

The marine research aspect of Under will welcome interdisciplinary research teams studying marine biology and fish behaviour through measurement tools installed around the building, both inside and out. Scientists will be able to monitor a number of things from here, using their findings to ultimately find a way of creating new opportunities to improve official marine resource management.