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Under Opens: Europe’s First Underwater Restaurant

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Under Opens: Europe’s First Underwater Restaurant
Photo Image: IVAR KVAAL

Architecture and design studio Snøhetta has created an awe-inspiring monolithic concrete tube- structure that houses a forty-seater restaurant as well as a marine life research centre, in Baaly, on the southern tip of Norway. 

Literally subverting the seaside restaurant with sea view concept and plunging it five meters into the wild North Sea water, the structure clings to the coast’s rocks like the hull of an upturned shipwreck.

The 34-metre long concrete structure is simple and solid designed draw diners down into a submarine world of tranquillity beneath the waves. With the walls a metre-and-a-half thick and slightly curved, the building is designed to withstand the force of crashing waves so when the weather is wild and the waters turbulent, diners can enjoy their supper exposed to a symphony of savage nature, while feeling cosy and protected at the same time.

The interior is bedecked with natural, warm, materials to create a safe feeling, you can see oak and fabric, while the lighting is defused and gentle and the acoustics are good, creating a womb-like atmosphere and insulating diners from the elements.

The structure is designed to integrate into its surroundings over time. The exterior allows barnacles and mussels to attach to it, which will in turn attract more sea life to it. Under will serve as an interdisciplinary marine biology research centre while out of restaurant service hours.

The restaurant, which already has 7000 bookings will create a fine dining experience based on high quality, locally-sourced produce, with a special emphasis on sustainable wildlife capture, serving fish, seabirds and lamb from the sheep that graze the nearby islands.

The head chef is Nicolai Ellitsgaard Pedersen formerly of Maltid restaurant in Kristiansand and at the Henne Kirkeby Kro Michelin-starred restaurant in Denmark. Meals will cost up to €376 ($430).

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