Europe’s first underwater restaurant, “Under,” has just welcomed its first guests to an extraordinary Snøhetta-designed environment that embraces stunning seabed views. Located at the southernmost point of the coastline in Lindesnes, Norway, Under is a partly submerged building that rests directly on the seabed 16.4 feet below water. The monolithic building also serves as a research center for marine life, and its rough concrete envelope will, over time, become a habitat for an artificial reef.
Famed for its intense and mercurial weather, Lindesnes is often home to sea-churning storms. In contrast, Under is a warm and calming environment fitted with locally harvested Norwegian oak finishes and sound-absorbing textiles. Tilted into the water like a sunken ship, the 111.5-foot-long building receives guests via a staircase that leads to the seabed. The colors of the textile-clad interiors become darker — changing from sunset pinks to intense coral to sea green and finally midnight blue — as guests move closer to the 40-person dining room. The materials also change from rougher wood finishes at the entrance into increasingly refined finishes in the dining room.
In the dining room, a massive, 36-foot-wide window provides panoramic sea views, which change throughout the seasons from sapphire blues in winter to emerald greens in summer. To minimize reflections on the glass, the restaurant has installed a sophisticated lighting system with 380 LED lamps that can be adjusted to respond to differing light conditions. Views can also be enjoyed from the vertical window cut into the side of the building that begins at the mezzanine level where the building meets the sea and extends down toward the seabed.
“Lying against the craggy shoreline, the structure’s half-meter-thick concrete walls are built to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions,” Snøhetta said. “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 fine dining restaurant will be led by Head Chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard, who will serve high-quality, locally sourced produce with an emphasis on sustainably harvested wildlife.
Photography by IVAR KVAAL and Inger Marie Grini/Bo Bedre Norge via Snøhetta