Though humans have lived on Earth for thousands of years, we’ve only explored five percent of the oceans. Who knows what might be lurking in the deep recesses of the Pacific Ocean, or even off the coast of Norway. Diners will soon have the opportunity find out, as the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta is building the first underwater restaurant in Europe.
Under will be located on the southern coast of Norway, close to the village of Båly. According to Design Boom, the space is a tribute to the Norwegian coast. Because it is located underwater, the establishment will also serve as a marine life research center, teaching visitors how humans and nature can peacefully coexist.
The restaurant, which will be half-sunk into the sea, will act as a persicope. The panoramic windows will give diners a perfect view into the icy Nordic waters as they slurp down seafood entrees and admire the circling wildlife. To shield patrons from pressure changes and the force of the water, Under will have walls that are 3.2 feet, or 1 meter, thick.
Said Snøhetta on its website:
“More than an aquarium, the structure will become a part of its marine environment, coming to rest directly on the seabed almost 16.5 feet (5 meters) below the water’s surface.”
The establishment has three levels. Patrons will enter a wardrobe room before they descend one floor to a champagne bar. At this level, the transition between land and water begins. Diners can watch the transformation through the window as they move to the final level which is underwater. MyModernMet reports, “The muted palette of the interior mimics the aquatic surroundings, immersing patrons in the full experience.”
The aim of the attraction is to active the senses, as well as draw people below the surface so they might cultivate even more appreciation for the underwater world.
The sleek exterior of the building is encapsulated in a concrete shell with a coarse surface that is inviting to mussels. Over time, mollusk communities will densify, and the submerged monolith will become an artificial mussel reef that serves two purposes: not only will it natural attract more marine life, it will rinse the sea and purify the waters.