Dubai, the Maldives, Florida – and now Norway. Underwater restaurants are usually confined to exotic destinations – but a village on the south coast of Norway is down to join the ranks.
Under – due to open in February 2018 near Båly – will be a concrete structure tipping into the sea, reports CNN. Designed by Norwegian architecture firm Snohetta, it’ll be half-submerged, resembling both a periscope and sunken ship.
“It should be an exciting experience, but people should also feel secure and well sitting down there,” Rune Grasdal, the project’s lead architect, told CNN.
With an emphasis on local cuisine, the restaurant will accommodate up to 100 people. A huge panoramic window will provide views of the seabed and abundant marine life.
Guests will descend three levels through a submerged wardrobe area, a champagne bar and then finally the restaurant itself. The name, Under, is a play on words – in Norwegian, “under” can also mean “wonder”.
Renderings of the project show a restaurant half-submerged into the icy waters off the coast of Båly, a town about three hours from Kristiansand, Norway’s fifth-largest city.
Not only will it be a unique foodie experience, but according to Snohetta, the restaurant will also serve an ecological purpose.
“Under has been designed with sensitive consideration for its geographic context and aquatic neighbours,” reads the website. “The sleek, streamlined form of the building is encapsulated in a concrete shell with a coarse surface that invites mussels to cling on. Over time, as the mollusc community densifies, the submerged monolith will become an artificial mussel reef that functions dually to rinse the sea and naturally attract more marine life to its purified waters.”
As the restaurant becomes a reef, interdisciplinary teams will be invited to study marine behaviour and fish biology – aiming to optimise conditions for fish and shellfish in close proximity to the restaurants, meaning more choice for seafood lovers.
It’s not the first time Norwegians have floated the idea of an aquatic tourist attraction. In 2014, a snowflake-shaped floating hotel to be built in the waters off Tromsø was announced to great fanfare. It never materialised, however.
Here’s hoping Under will be less of a disappointment.