20 May Opened Europe’s First Underwater Restaurant
Located in the remote village of Båly, Norway, “Under” is the largest underwater existing restaurant. Its name has a double meaning, so “under” also means “wonder” in Norwegian.
The 495-square-meter restaurant was opened to the public just a couple of months ago, the 20th March 2019. Designed to be as simple as possible, “Under”, takes the form of a monolithic concrete tube that is 34 meters in length, fronted by a huge panoramic window that gives visitors a unique view of marine life.
But, apart from being the first underwater restaurant opened in Europe -which can seat up to 40 people- this curious building partly submerged in the North Sea, serves as research center for marine life too.
“Under” has some interesting details due to its construction. Regarding to the outside of the building, the walls are slightly curved and half-a-meter thick, providing optimal resistance against the forces of waves and water pressure. The concrete has been left with an exposed, rugged texture to encourage algae and molluscs to cling on. Over time this will create an artificial mussel reef that helps purify the water, and in turn naturally attract more marine life.
Once you enter into the building, you’re greeted with a hushed, oak-clad foyer to contrast with the unruly outdoors, as wooden planks cover its upper section. The rich interiors designed by Snøhetta studio create a warm, welcoming atmosphere inside the restaurant.
An eight-meter flight of stairs leads down to a large dining area, walled by a gigantic transparent window to the ocean. In the main dining room, terrazzo flooring is paired with deep blue and green hued acoustic panels inspired by the seabed, seaweed and rough sea.
The restaurant is laid out so there are minimal reflections in the glass wall, which fills the room with natural light during the day, filtered by the greenish colour of the water.
To enable visitors to observe the great sea life through the acrylic windows at night, Snøhetta has teamed gentle lighting on the seabed with muted interior lighting. Meanwhile, the champagne bar above has warmer pink and orange tones to evoke shells and sand higher on the shore.