Under Restaurant Norway

We’re no strangers to extreme builds, so this incredible project in Norway really did catch our eye when it opened last year.

Under is the world’s largest underwater restaurant and brainchild of local hoteliers Stig and Gaute Ubostad. The first of its kind in Europe, the building also functions as a research centre for marine life. The Snøhetta-designed dining experience opened in April 2019.

The £6m structure, close to the village of Båly in southern Norway’s Lindesnes region, is designed to integrate into its environment and the concrete shell will function as an artificial reef.

In Norwegian, ‘under’ means both ‘below’ and ‘wonder.’ Half-sunken into the sea, the building’s 111-foot long monolithic form breaks the surface of the water to rest on the seabed below. Taking it a step further, the structure is built to eventually fully integrate into its marine environment, as the roughness of the concrete shell will function as an artificial reef, welcoming limpets and kelp to inhabit it.

Under was built on a barge 20 metres from the site and its windows were installed prior to submersion. During submersion, the structure floated on its own and was moved to its location by crane and tugboats. It was then bolted to a concrete slab anchored to the bedrock beneath the sea. 

Thick concrete walls allow it to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions and, like a sunken periscope, the restaurant’s massive panoramic window offers a view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions.

The restaurant seats 40 and a window 11 metres wide by 3.4 high offers a view of the seabed. Lights have been installed to attract sea life to the window.

As a metaphor for descending from land to sea, textile-clad ceiling panels reference the colours of a sunset dropping into the ocean, accompanying one climbing down the stairs. The wooden tables and chairs are by Hamran, a local designer.

“Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries,” Snøhetta Founder and Architect, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen said. “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.”

To visit their website or book your table click here.

Images c/o Snøhetta

Nicky’s World January 2020