Fine dining in a sunken periscope located in the icy waters of the North Atlantic Ocean in Lindesnes, Norway: UNDER
The restaurant focuses on sustainability and responsible consumption as well as on regional gourmet cuisine. At the same time it is a research centre for marine biology.
UNDER is an experience of contrasts: between landscape and ocean; above and below. Europe‘s first underwater restaurant designed by Snøhetta underlines the delicate ecological balance between land and sea. It draws our attention to sustainability and responsible consumption, to the coexistence of life on land and in water.
The restaurant opened its submarine doors this year
It is located at the southernmost point of the Norwegian coast, where the waves from the north and the south were blown together. Marine animals living in both salt water and brackish water thrive here, and the diversity of species is enormous.
UNDER as a research center
The restaurant not only functions as a gourmet temple; it is also a research center for marine life – a tribute to the marine fauna and the wild, rocky coast. This is already expressed in the name, because in Norwegian „under“ means „below“as well as „miracle“.
The architecture is as fascinating as that of the Berlin Bar in Moscow. The 34-metre-long monolithic form of the building, which is half sunk into the sea, breaks the water masses and lies five metres deeper directly on the seabed. It has been designed with sensitive consideration for its geographic context and aquatic neighbors. The structure is designed to fully integrate into its marine environment over time, as the roughness of the concrete shell will function as an artificial reef, welcoming limpets and kelp to inhabit it.
UNDER is the natural result of our experimentation with boundaries. As a new landmark for southern Norway, UNDER suggests unexpected combinations. In this building you may be under water, or above the seabed, between land and sea. This offers you new perspectives on the world, both beyond and below the waterline.Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founder and architect of Snøhetta.
Like a sunken persiscope
With the thick concrete walls lying against the craggy shoreline, the structure is built to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions. Like a sunken periscope, the restaurant‘s massive window offers a view of the seabed, which changes constantly in accordance with the seasons and weather conditions.
UNDER culinary focus
The restaurant offers space for 35 to 40 guests every evening. It is located in a dining room protected by half-meter thick concrete walls. The culinary focus is on creating a taste experience with high quality products from the region – the focus is on sustainable wildlife management.
The head chef is the Danish expat Nicolai Ellitsgaard from the renowned restaurant Måltid in Kristiansand. He brings along an international kitchen team with 16 employees and experience from the best Michelin restaurants.
Fresh ingredients and pure, naked flavors are of utmost importance to us. At the same time, we want to provide an unique dining experience that ushers our guests beyond their comfort zone.Chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard
Throughout the year, Ellitsgaard will experiment with local ingredients and different compositions, providing his guests a dining experience that will be hard to forget.
The restaurant will also welcome interdisciplinary research teams dealing with marine biology and fish behaviour. Cameras and other measuring instruments are mounted outside on the façade in order to document the populations, behaviour and species diversity in the area. The aim of the research is to collect data in order to improve the „management of marine resources“.
Text: Linda Benkö
Fotos: Ivar Kvaal, André Martinsen / Hjort Media, Stian Broch, Inger Marie Grini / Bo Bedre Norge