Under: Europe’s first underwater restaurant
Eco-sustainability, visible materials and care for the experiential are fundamental values that we can trace in avant-garde architectural proposals. Under Europe’s first underwater restaurant, is one of the best examples of these latest trends in architecture… We invite you to discover why!
Under, is an impressive restaurant under the sea that has been built on the coast of Norskehavet, in Norway, specifically in the small town of Lindesnes There, the Ubostad brothers have built this restaurant in collaboration with the famous famous architectural studio Snohetta,known worldwide for impressive projects such as the Norwegian National Opera, Brno Central Station and the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Pavilion. One of the essential lines in Snohetta’s architectural projects, and in Nordic design in general, is the integration of his buildings with nature. In Under, Snohetta has taken this concept a step further, submerging the restaurant 5 metres below the sea surface to merge it completely with it.
To overcome all technical handicaps, Under is conceived as a raw concrete monolith Its 34 metre length and metre thickness allow the structure to be incorporated into the pre-existing body of rocks and merge with the water as if it were a jetty or a breakwater breakwater. The purity of the rectangle is used in this restaurant under the sea with an ambivalent vocation: on the one hand it refers to an absolute, almost spiritual minimalism that does not want to leave a trace, but on the other it evokes the brutalism of the Second World War bunkers typical of this area of Norway. Therefore, elements such as the oak wood typical of this area is used to balance the concrete both in sections of the exterior cladding, as in the hall, on the surfaces of your dining room and in interior design pieces such as tables, chairs and crockery.
Both the marine ecosystem and that of the forests near Lindesnes are everything in Under’s conceptualisation: essential to enjoy its super-aesthetic gastronomic experience and basic in its interior design proposal. Therefore, elements such as the oak wood typical of this area is used to balance the concrete in sections of the exterior cladding, as well as in the hall, in the surfaces of its dining room and in interior design pieces such as tables, chairs and tableware. To complement the wood, elements such as the grand staircase that leads down to the dining room of this restaurant are designed in metal, reinforcing the sobriety typical of the Nordic style.
The modulation of light is another of the strong points of this underwater restaurant. Soft lighting bathes the entire building and allows diners to enjoy the outside light of the sea thanks to the panoramic view from the dining room. The changing weather conditions make this room a unique space tinged with light in shades of pink, coral and navy blue. These tones reinforce the spiritual character of this space, almost conceived as a crypt under the waters, where the food that forms part of Under’s gastronomic discourse can be tasted and celebrated.
Respect for the context and for the product lead this Michelin-starred restaurant, which is run by Head Chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard. Its menu is based exclusively on the local ecosystem and its set menu is made up of over 16 dishes based on: crabs, sea urchins, clams, limpets, lobsters, turbot, sea arrow grass, mushrooms, berries, buckthorn, sea rocket and salted sea kale.
But Under is much more than a restaurant, as in many ways it is practically a vessel designed to analyse marine biodiversity, nurture it and extract its food responsibly. This approach is no accident, as marine biologist Trond Rafoss of the Norwegian Bioeconomy Research Institute advised the Snohetta studio throughout the construction of the project. His analysis of the waters, temperatures and ecosystem of Lindesnes has had a double value in this project: to significantly improve the resistance of materials for this architectural challenge and to allow a better understanding of the marine context. In short, the Underwater Restaurant Under is one of the purest metaphors of the circular economy brought to the field of architecture and restoration.
Its numerous functional and aesthetic layers go beyond brutalism and minimalism to link us to trends such as Land Art and the creative concept of site specific; a restaurant under the sea that allows us many more analogies, especially for its shape and its panoramic dining room. From visual references such as ancient monolithic art, through Eduardo Chillida’s unfinished project for the Tindaya mountain or the play of light applied in Roden Crater by James Turrell to the marine cubes of Agustín Ibarrola. All these references connect with the strong spiritual character of Under, where the materials seen, honest and unpolished are arranged in a subtle way so as not to interrupt the authentic magic of nature. Under is a pioneer in Europe, but it is not the only architectural project that fuses gastronomy with spectacular underwater views. These four other underwater restaurants are also super-spectacular.
Ithaa Restaurant ( Maldivas)This is one of the world’s first underwater restaurant models Located among the atolls of these Indian Ocean islands, it belongs to the prestigious Hilton Group. This restaurant has been for years among the 10 most expensive in the world and its views offer unique species such as the coral banks of the Maldives, sharks or the curious squirrel fish
Poseidon Undersea Resort Restaurants (Fiji Island )
Sunk more than 12 metres underwater, the restaurants of this resort have more than two Michelin stars. The great attraction of this tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is its more than 1,200 marine species, including turtles and humpback whales.
Oceanografic’s underwater restaurant (Valencia)
This restaurant is located next to the Oceanografic Park, in the City of Arts and Sciences. Immersed in the waters, it overlooks a spectacular circular aquarium. Among its most unique species are the garden eel, the pot-bellied seahorse, and the sea bream. An authentic way to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine.
Red Sea Star Restaurant (Israel)
Located 5 metres under the waters of the Red Sea is another beautiful underwater restaurant. Its particular starfish-shaped structure is what gives the restaurant its name. Its panoramic views allow you to enjoy local species such as the Red Sea butterfly fish, the clown fish or the green castanet.