A new half-submerged restaurant off the coast of Norway by Snøhetta architects has caught the eye of every design publication this week. Under is contained within a 34-meter monolith that leans one end on the shoreline and the other 5 meters below the water’s surface on the seabed. And not only do we have a look at the architecture for you, but also the interior design and details, the Head Chef and the food, the marine life and more.
Norway’s New Submerged Restaurant
Commissioned by the Lindesnes Havhotellet, the new 35-40 seat restaurant, appropriately named Under, is located on the very southernmost tip of Norway, around an hour and a half’s drive from the nearest airport.
It claims the title of Europe’s first underwater restaurant and Snøhetta′s latest “experimentation with boundaries“ and serves up “The Immersion Menu”, a gastronomic tasting menu comprised of approximately 18-delicacies, seasonally inspired, celebrating Norway’s finest seafood.
The project underscores the delicate ecological balance between land and sea and draws our attention to sustainable models for responsible consumption. By focusing on the coexistence of life on land and in the ocean, Under proposes a new way of understanding our relationship to our surroundings – above the surface, under the water, and alongside the life of the sea.
With the thick concrete walls lying against the craggy shoreline, the structure is built to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions. Diners are protected from the crashing waves by the half-meter thick walls:
One descends down into the restaurant through an oak-lined foyer into the dining hall, where ombre ceiling textiles reference the setting sun:
Sunlight shining through the murky aquamarine waters creates a dramatic setting for diners:
Inside an 11 x 3.4 meter window is an aperture into the sea:
The interior is designed by Snøhetta, with furniture and tableware made by various nearby artisans and companies. The ceramics are designed by Ment (sisters Sidsel and Ingvild Hemma); textiles and acoustic panels by Kvadrat; oak cladding and furniture Janne Ramona Wedsl, Hamram.Thanks to Milan architect and journalist Laura Raggazola’s Instagram feed, we can share with you her wonderful photos of the tableware:
Under has created one set menu for all guests visiting the restaurant that plunges into the water. They believe this is the very best way for them to showcase each season with its unique produce in this little remote corner of the world.
To accompany this, they also offer a beverage pairing designed to perfectly complement Chef Nicolai’s cuisine. Alternatively, they can also provide non-alcoholic pairings developed by the front of house along with the kitchen team to support and enhance the flavors of the food.
“Our Norwegian specialty highlights the wonders beneath the sea and the unique blend of genuine Norwegian wildlife and berries in keeping with the changing seasons of the Southern tip of Norway.
My team and I work in close co-operation with local farmers, fishermen, hunters and harvesters to provide the freshest ingredients. In this way, we create flavorful, innovative dishes that reflect our landscape.” – Head chef Nicholai Ellitsgaard
THE MARINE LIFE
At Under, an equally important part of the project is the building’s facilitation of marine research. Some of the beautiful and bizarre wildlife that can be seen through the restaurant window are pictured below. The crystal jellyfish, striped grey sea slug, jellyfish, anemone, starfish and berg jellyfish images are courtesy of Snøhetta:
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 restaurant will welcome interdisciplinary research teams studying marine biology and fish behavior, through cameras and other measurement tools that are installed on and outside the facade of the restaurant.
The researchers’ aim is to document the population, behavior and diversity of species that are living around the restaurant, through cameras and live observation. The goal of the research is to collect data that can be programmed into machine learning tools that monitor the population dynamics of key marine species on a regular basis, thereby creating new opportunities to improve official marine resource management.
The 35-40 seat restaurant is around an hour and a half’s drive from the nearest airport.
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