International architecture firm Snøhetta just opened Europe’s first underwater restaurant in Lindesnes, Norway. Snøhetta is famous for its revamp of Times Square, as well as other ambitious projects like a treehouse hotel and an expansion of the SFMOMA. Now the Oslo- and New York City-based firm is adding an aquatic restaurant—appropriately named “Under”—to its portfolio.
Located at the southernmost point of the Norwegian coastline, the restaurant will function both as a dining venue and a research center for marine life. First announced in 2017, the 111-foot structure has been described as a “sunken periscope” that breaks from the surface of the water to rest directly on the seabed below.
Thick concrete walls help to withstand the pressure from the waves, and the shell will function as an artificial reef. Inside, people are welcomed by an oak-clad foyer before heading to a 40-seat dining room and massive panoramic acrylic window onto the sea. Muted lighting inside makes it easier to see the wildlife, and textile-clad panels allude to the colors of a sunset dropping into the ocean. The food will focus on sustainable wildlife capture and locally sourced produce, helmed by Danish expatriate Nicolai Ellitsgaard as head chef.
“Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries,” says Snøhetta founder and architect Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. “As a new landmark for Southern Norway, Under proposes unexpected combinations of pronouns and prepositions, and challenges what determines a person’s physical placement in their environment. In this building, you may find yourself under water, over the seabed, between land and sea. This will offer you new perspectives and ways of seeing the world, both beyond and beneath the waterline.”