‘I’d like to be, under the sea, in an octopus’ garden in the shade’, so sang a wistful Ringo Starr as tensions began to simmer among The Beatles.
And indeed there is a universally peaceful quality to the thought of escaping the stresses and cares of land life for the quiet, cool blue of the ocean.
Most of us probably won’t receive an invite to an octopus’ garden, but we land-dwellers can still find a little of the undersea joy so heartily recommended by Ringo.
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Under is a story of contrasts; the contrast between the landscape and the sea; above and below. The project underscores the delicate ecological balance between land and sea and draws our attention to sustainable models for responsible consumption. By focusing on the coexistence of life on land and in the ocean, Under proposes a new way of understanding our relationship to our surroundings – above the surface, under the water, and alongside the life of the sea. 📷 @ivarkvaal @ingermariegrini and @hjortmedianorge @underlindesnes
As of March 20, Europe’s very first undersea restaurant opened the doors to its dramatically beautiful hideaway – and it’s unlike any other fine dining experience on Earth.
Named ‘Under’ – combining the ‘dual meaning of below and wonder’ – this mesmerising restaurant is nestled beneath the waves of the rugged Norwegian coastline in Lindesnes.
The sturdy, half-sunken building is a work of architectural genius from Oslo based architecture and design firm, Snøhetta, with the rough ‘concrete shell’ functioning as an artificial reef.
Influenced by the structure of a periscope, the large panoramic window offers a vista of the tempestuous moods and seasons of the ever-changing seabed, as reported on the Snøhetta website.
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Today marks the official opening of “Under”, Europe’s first and the world’s biggest underwater restaurant, designed by Snøhetta. Half-sunken into the sea, the building’s 34-meter long monolithic form breaks the surface of the water to rest directly on the seabed five meters below. The structure is designed to fully integrate into its marine environment over time, as the roughness of the concrete shell will function as an artificial reef, welcoming limpets and kelp to inhabit it. With the thick concrete walls lying against the craggy shoreline, the structure is built to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions. Like a sunken periscope, the restaurant’s massive window offers a view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions. The building also functions as a research center for marine life, providing a tribute to the wild fauna of the sea and to the rocky coastline of Norway’s southern tip. 📷@ivarkvaal and @matografen @underlindesnes
As reported by Bored Panda, Snøhetta Founder and Architect, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen said:
Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries.
As a new landmark for Southern Norway, Under proposes unexpected combinations of pronouns and prepositions, and challenges what determines a person’s physical placement in their environment.
In this building, you may find yourself underwater, over the seabed, between land and sea. This will offer you new perspectives and ways of seeing the world, both beyond and beneath the waterline.
The food itself looks set to be utterly exquisite, with a top kitchen team bringing bags of Michelin star standard experience to this stunning location.
Sublime photographs of the new venture from photographer Ivar Kvaal have been shared on the Snøhetta Instagram account.
However, this is far more than just an awe-inspiring place to enjoy a delicious meal (although that indeed is still a worthy feat).
According to the Snøhetta website, the building will also be home to a marine life research center:
Marine species flourish here in the both briny and brackish waters to produce a natural abundance in biodiversity at the site.
The Snøhetta-designed restaurant also functions as a research center for marine life, providing a tribute to the wild fauna of the sea and to the rocky coastline of Norway’s southern tip.
This sounds like an absolute must-visit for adventurous foodies and nature lovers alike – and certainly a venue which puts my weekend Wagamama plans to shame…
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.