It’s pretty amazing news: the future is here and it includes underwater restaurants.
That’s right, Europe’s first underwater restaurant is now open and it’s stunning. Located in Norway, it isn’t just a restaurant that seats 100 diners but also a research center for marine creatures. If that isn’t the most amazing double-act, we don’t know what is.
The restaurant’s name is Under, which might seem pretty straightforward.
But in Norwegian, the word has two meanings. First, it means “under” just like in English but it also means “wonder,” which is pretty appropriate for this place.
The restaurant is 111 feet of concrete, partly in and partly out of the water. It rests on the sandy underwater floor and provides a fine dining experience encased in what is essentially a man-made reef.
Concrete was chosen for the outside of the restaurant for one very specific reason: it’s a rough material that can fully mesh with the underwater environment.
That means that algae, barnacles, and all sorts of marine life can make their home on the outside. It’s the perfect way to bring together Under’s two goals of fine dining and marine research.
There are plenty of special considerations that go into building an underwater restaurant.
The structure has reinforced walls designed to keep the interior safe from wild weather and beating waves. But there are also windows everywhere and for good reason. They give diners the perfect view of another world while enjoying a fine cuisine.
“Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries,” said Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founder of Snøhetta, the design company that took charge of Under. “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.”
Coming into the restaurant may well be a culture shock. The outside region is known for its wild weather patterns and rough seas. Diners entering for their meal go from a natural storm setting to a warm and comfortable inside foyer full of soft lighting.
Once seated, they’re set to enjoy the meal of a lifetime.
Under provides a dining experience that draws on the best chefs in the region and delicious local specialties. In its kitchen, Michelin chefs strive to provide diners with a meal they’ll never forget.
But Under isn’t just a restaurant. It’s also a research center for marine biology, allowing scientists and researchers to study the animal life found in the North Sea.
And the architects say that at its core, Under is all about contrasts.
“For most of us, this is a totally new world experience,” said Rune Grasdal, the lead architect of the project. “It’s not an aquarium, it’s the wildlife of the North Sea. That makes it much more interesting. It takes you directly into the wildness. If the weather is bad, it’s very rough. It’s a great experience and to sit here and be safe, allowing the nature so close into you. It’s a very romantic and nice experience.”
Though the restaurant has only recently opened, it’s already drawing worldwide attention.
If you’re heading to Norway on your next vacation, brave the waves and get a table at the best seat in the sea.
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