Restaurants all over the world are not just competing with each other over dishes and service, architecture and interior design are details to make themselves stand out. Now we’ve seen plenty of pretty restaurants, but here’s one more for you to visit. If you happen to be in Scandinavia or plan to go there, do stop by Oslo to visit Under; Europe’s first underwater restaurant. It stands out with bold, half-sunken architecture crafted by the minds of American architecture firm Snøhetta.
This 80-100 person restaurant takes on a monolithic, half-sunken aesthetic with one end a whopping 16 feet under the sea. It’s floor to ceiling windows give a perfect view into the ocean and surrounding sea life, so diners can see all the corals and colorful fish residing nearby. But that’s not all there is to this, because it’s also a marine research center at the same time. Researchers there are actively optimizing conditions to attract mussels and other shellfish to adhere to the restaurant’s external concrete shell, and they are also working to allow sea life to thrive in the proximity of the restaurant. When the artificial mussel reef becomes a reality, the animals will help purify the water so diners can see the surrounding waters more clearly. The dual identity of restaurant-research center works really well for Under, because the sea life nearby will draw clients and revenue in to support the researches, and the researches can really observe up close and personal the happenings at sea.
Now Snøhetta isn’t just any random architecture firm, so the interior design is just a bold as the half-sunken exterior. The dining room is inspired by the rough sea, so tones of dark blues and deep greens are liberally used on the coral-like décor on the walls. Paired with the blue light shining in from the windows, the mermaid vibes are very strong. To separate the champagne bar from the rest of the space, designers are utilizing a more earthy palette inspired by the coastal zone to match how that part is located at the shore-level of the underwater restaurant.
Under hasn’t released a menu yet, but a wide variety of seafood is to be expected. For those who are interested in visiting, you might have to wait a little bit because they have yet to set an opening date. Though I think it’ll be a great place to visit when it opens, because just look at the photos.
Photo Credit: Snøhetta
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