Ithaa, which means “mother-of-pearl” , is the very first undersea restaurant in the world. It is located at 5 metres below sea level at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island in Alif Dhaal Atoll in the Republic of Maldives. The concept was brought to life by a a design consultancy based in New Zealand called M.J. Murphy Ltd, and it is now the property of Hilton Maldives Resort and Spa.
The whole project cost less than $5 million and it had the purpose of rehabilitating the Rangalifinolhu Island into a tourist attraction.And what is the attraction ? A stunning 180 degree underwater panoramic view over a coral reef . The restaurant was originally thought with straight walls and glass windows but later the R-Cast acrylic tunnel with curved walls seemed the best idea ,because the curved lines give an impression of fluidity, connecting the viewer with the sea panorama. The stress due to the weight of the water is massive and both the design and construction processes were challenging but with such a result, it was worth it. With a limited space of 45 square meters and a capacity of 14 people, this exclusive restaurant can offer you a great unique experience, but do hurry because the building sits in an extreme environment. The structure withstands massive forces due to the water volume so the life span of the restaurant is estimated to be about 20 years. It all looks amazing of course but can you imagine how it would feel like to actually eat in such a place? Could you? Overall, this building doesn’t capture us through shape or materials, it captures us because it’s built in a new environment for this type of buildings, and this looks like a small step towards a new kind of architecture . Thoughts ?