The last frontier of dining has been reached with this mind-bending ocean floor restaurant in Norway.
Work on Europe’s first underwater restaurant in the coastal village of Båly, five hours south of Oslo, has begun and early glimpses of the project already promise a unique dining experience.
A creation of Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, fronted by architects Craig Dykers and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, the proposed concrete building will be a three level structure that tips into the sea. Set diagonally against the ocean floor bedrock and featuring an oak-lined entry that peeps out of the water, it almost mimics the face of a whale as it crests the sea surface during migration.
Dining at the aptly named Under – which also translates to “wonder” in Norwegian – is intended to be a fully immersive oceanic experience. “On a day of rough sea, you can feel a hint of fresh, salty ocean spray against your face as you enter the restaurant,” the architects explained.
Inspired by the “seabed, seaweed and rough sea”, the space will feature a colour scheme of deep blues and greens, as well as a champagne bar reflecting the ocean floor’s own décor of shells and sand.
The highlight of the space is, of course, the generous, 11-metre-long porthole-style acrylic window that stretches the length of the restaurant, giving diners a dazzling view into the silent chaos of undersea life. Although the primary function of the space is as a 100-capacity restaurant, it will also double as marine research centre and an artificial mussel reef, with the one-metre thick concrete exterior created specifically for the purpose of inviting the water’s local mussel population to attach themselves to the façade.
Unsurprisingly, the menu devised by head chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard is set to reflect its environment, hoping to ‘inform’ the public about the biodiversity of the sea, while also utilising locally foraged ingredients – both in and out of the water.
Norway will be joining Dubai, the Maldives and Florida as an underwater dining destination.