A restaurant is being built that will be submerged partly underwater along Norway’s coastline.
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Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta has designed Europe’s first underwater restaurant. Dubbed Under, the restaurant will be half-submerged in the sea along the rugged, craggy shoreline of Lindesnes, near the village of Båly, on the southern tip of Norway. The structure rests on the seabed five meters below the surface, and is built to withstand Norway’s often stormy sea conditions. Thick plexiglass windows give diners a view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons.
Materials used in the construction of the restaurant were chosen not only for their aesthetic qualities, but also for their sustainability. The building itself is covered in a rough concrete shell designed to provide a surface for mussels to cling to. Over time, the building will become an artificial mussel reef that will help to purify the local ocean environment. Restaurant goers will walk to the restaurant entrance along a seaside path lined with informational plaques telling the story of the marine biodiversity along the Norwegian coast. Once inside the building, diners descend through three levels – from the tide pools at the entrance, down one level to the champagne bar, which marks the transition between the shoreline and the ocean, and then to the seabed level of the restaurant, where tables are placed in front of a panoramic window measuring 11 meters by 4 meters.
Head chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard plans to cook with locally-sourced and foraged ingredients, and the restaurant will also welcome research teams who wish to use the space to study marine biology. Interdisciplinary teams of researchers will be asked to help create optimal conditions on the seabed to help fish and shellfish thrive. We have already seen dining combined with technology to create AI that can suggest recipes from photos of food and an app that lets people order unsold restaurant meals at a discount. What other ideas might there be for creating a synthesis between restaurant and research?