Prix Versailles, a contest that every year highlights the world’s most innovative, spectacular and avant-garde architectural structures, has recently awarded it a prize. We are talking about Under, an amazing underwater restaurant sunken at a five-metre depth in the icy waters of North Atlantic Ocean in Lindesnes, Norway. Designed by studio Snohetta, known for having already worked on projects able to combine functionality, sustainability and spectacle, Under is the first underwater restaurant in Europe. “One of the benefits of this building- lead project architect Rune Grasdal tells- is how it links nature and land, and how you can come safe from the land and in a very dramatic way go down through this concrete tube to the nature at sea level, and experience what normally is not experienced”.
Partially on the surface, characterised by an extremely linear and essential structure, Under has a length of 34 metres with thick walls designed to resist water pressure and wave force, thus allowing its guests to go to the restaurant even in case of a storm, a rather frequent weather phenomenon in the area. Organised on three floors, the structure hosts a foyer welcoming customers and leading to an oak staircase that allows to reach a champagne bar and finally the main hall, that can accommodate up to 40 people and is located five metres below the water surface. From here, thanks to the big window (11×3 metres) opening in front of the tables one can admire the real life hidden at the bottom of the North Sea. The food offer is well-designed and all focused on the sea and local raw materials (from the sea cabbage growing on the cliff-side to the wild herbs, mushrooms and wild berries), served on tableware designed by local craftsmen using the sea bottom sand. “Fresh ingredients and pure, naked flavors are of the utmost importance to us – explains Head Chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard. At the same time, we want to provide an unique dining experience that ushers our guests beyond their comfort zone.”