‘Under’ will be Europe’s first underwater restaurant

The Snøhetta-designed restaurant will also function as a research center for marine life.

October 25, 2017 |
Under resting on the seabed

Rendering courtesy of Snøhetta

A new restaurant from Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta looks like it sprang from the pages of a concept art book for James Cameron’s 1989 film The Abyss. ‘Under,’ which will become Europe’s first under water restaurant, will exist at the southernmost point of the Norwegian coastline by the village of Båly. In addition to being a restaurant Under will also function as a research center for marine life.

The restaurant and research center will be half-sunken into the sea. The exposed part will lie against the craggy shoreline while the underwater aspect of the building will become part of the marine environment and rest directly on the seabed five meters below the surface. Meter-thick concrete walls will provide protection against the pressure and shock of the rugged sea conditions and large acrylic windows will offer views of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions.


The large acrylic window in UnderRendering courtesy of Snøhetta.


A path lined with informational plaques will lead guests to the restaurant’s entrance at the water’s edge. These plaques will tell a story about marine biodiversity and the Norwegian coast. The entrance to the restaurant is clad in untreated, locally sourced oak that will eventually fade into a grayish color.

From the entrance, guests will descend through three levels: the wardrobe area, the champagne bar, and the restaurant. At the champagne bar level, a narrow, vertical acrylic window showcases the transition between the shoreline and the ocean. Each level uses a color palette that reflects its surrounding location. The champagne bar is inspired by the surrounding coastal zone’s subdued colors of shells rocks and sand. Meanwhile, the dark blues and greens of the seabed, seaweed, and sea highlight the restaurant.


Half-submerged UnderRendering courtesy of Snøhetta.


Under can comfortably accommodate 80 to 100 guests and will use muted lighting inside the restaurant and on the exterior seabed to help view the sea life outside of the largest 11 X 4-meter panoramic acrylic window. The research teams studying marine biology and fish behavior will help create conditions on the seabed that will attract fish and shellfish to the area surrounding the restaurant. A coarse concrete shell encapsulates the entire building and encourages mussels to cling on. Over time, the submerged concrete building will function as an artificial mussel reef that rinses the sea and naturally attracts more marine life to the purified waters. 


Under's entranceRendering courtesy of Snøhetta.


Aerial view of UnderRendering courtesy of Snøhetta.

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