Now you don’t need to scuba dive to enjoy the undersea world, you can do so in the comfort of an underwater restaurant! Sounds unbelievable? We give you the low-down on it.
Snøhetta, an international architecture and brand design company based in Oslo, Norway, has done the unbelievable. It has built the world’s largest and Europe’s first underwater restaurant in the remote village of Båly on Norway’s southern coast. The restaurant has been aptly named Under.
The 495-meter restaurant is shaped to resemble a sunken periscope. It enters the sea from a craggy shoreline in the form of a 34-meter monolithic concrete tube. The half-a-meter thick walls of the tube keep the occupants safe from powerful waves and the water pressure. The interior of the restaurant is equipped with a huge panoramic window that lets the guests have a glimpse of the fascinating marine life.
Explains Rune Grasdal, the lead architect of Under, “The idea was to make a tube that would bring people from above sea level down under the sea. That transition is easy to understand, but it’s also the most effective way to do it. It also feels secure and you don’t feel trapped.”
The exterior of the tube has a rough concrete texture meant to encourage the growth of algae and mollusks with the aim of turning it ultimately into an artificial mussel reef that will attract more marine life. The entrance has been made of untreated oak that over time will fade into gray tones complementing the raw concrete.
The restaurant, that accommodates up to 40 guests, has three levels; on the lower floor is the restaurant. A giant oak staircase leads to the other two levels housing a foyer and cloakroom, and a champagne bar. In addition to the restaurant, it also accommodates a marine research center.
According to Grasdal, “For most of us, this is a totally new world experience. It’s not an aquarium, it’s the wildlife of the North Sea. That makes it much more interesting. It takes you directly into the wildness.” One certainly has to experience it to believe it!
Photography By: Ivar Kvaal