Gastronomic Wonder in Norway
Written by Unity Line   

The first underwater restaurant in Europe will be open in April 2019. Although the construction is far from being completed and no menu was published so far, most tables for the first months have been reserved. It may well be that as you are reading this text, there are no free tables left.

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Unique not only in Europe

Until now, underwater restaurants were the thing in Asia, for example in the Maldives or in Dubai. Spring 2019, Norway will join them as the first country in Europe. The Belgians wouldn't agree. They believe they were the pioneers with their small pod, ‘The Pearl’ at the bottom of one of the deepest swimming pools in the world opened in February 2017. It can host up to four people. Dishes are served by divers. Does it look like a fully fledge venue?

The Norwegian underwater restaurant, ‘Under’, was designed by Snøhetta, a Scandinavian architecture firm famous for such structures as the Oslo Opera, Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt or the Lascaux International Centre for Cave Art in France. ‘Under’ is a bilingual play-on-words. In English, it means ‘below’ and in Norwegian, also ‘wonder’. The gastronomic venue will be located in the southern-most part of the Norwegian coastline, in Lindesnes municipality, near Båly, three hours from Kristiansand. ‘There are a few underwater restaurants in the world but none in such a wild environment as the one in Lindesnes,’ boasted the owners in their post on the official website at under.no.

 

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concrete periscope 

Under will have three storeys seating about 100 visitors. The entrance and the cloakroom will be at the ground level; the bar will be at level –1; and at the very bottom, five metres below the surface, there will be the dining room with a panoramic window with a view of the underwater sea world. Colours of each storey will reflect those found in nature. The soft palette of the bar will be inspired by the shore: colours of shells, rocks, and sand while the restaurant area will be influenced by seaweed and rough sea. The interior will be well lit and made of comfortable wood-based materials so that the customers don't get claustrophobic.

Metre-thick concrete walls will protect the restaurant against the wind, wave energy, pressure, and vibrations in challenging sea conditions. According to the architects, the building will resemble a periscope from the outside. Design images show it as a rectangular rock immersed in water.

Research centre

The association isn't a coincidence. The creators believe it will become a part of the natural ecosystem, a kind of reef. Algae will stick to the wall and the bivalves will follow. This, in turn, together with special sounds and colour temperature will attract various sea creatures. Under will be a research centre as well. It will be an attractive location for interdisciplinary researchers of marine biology and fish life.

The solemn words of the designers on Snøhetta website come as no surprise: ‘Through its architecture, menu, and mission of informing the public about the biodiversity of the sea, Under will provide an underwater experience inspiring a sense of awe and delight, activating all the senses – both physical and intellectual.’

 

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