WORDS Cheri Morris
Nestled on the craggy shoreline of Norway’s most southern point, Under by Snøhetta is set to be Europe’s very first underwater eatery.
Akin to a massive periscope, the huge acrylic window offers a view otherwise unseen of the adjacent seabed as it changes throughout the seasons. The half-sunken monolithic structure breaks the water’s surface, submerged five metres deep. Doubling up as a marine life research facility, Under is not just a stellar setting for indulging in gourmet eats and drinks but is also a conceptual tribute to the wild fauna of the sea and the rocky coastline of Norway’s southernmost point.
Under’s design is sensitive to both geographic context and its aquatic neighbours. The sleek, streamlined form is encapsulated in a concrete shell with a coarse surface that intends to invite a thriving mollusc community to grow on it, thus purifying the water and inviting fish and other sea creatures to find their home on the artificial reef.
The trail leading to the untreated oak-clad entrance is dotted with informative plaques that weave a narrative of the site into the overall Under experience. Under boasts three levels: a wardrobe area, a champagne bar and a dining area. The champagne bar marks the transition between shoreline and ocean and looks upon the seabed level of the restaurant.
The restaurant will open in the first quarter of 2019.