We’ve already seen the Ithaa underwater restaurant in the Maldives, so it would be unfair to overlook the Red Sea Star Underwater Restaurant, Bar, and Observatory. This dive (get it?) gives Ithaa a run for its money, as it fully incorporates the fun of being underwater and it can actually seat more than a dozen people.
The design philosophy is completely different from the Ithaa. Rather than focusing on class and elegance, the Red Sea Star is all about fun and color. Every feature in the restaurant resembles some sort of aquatic creature or coral, such as jellyfish stools, sea urchin lights, and starfish lamps. While the Ithaa screams “expensive,” the Red Sea Star shouts “fun!” This completely different atmosphere is made possible by the impressively huge underwater space. The restaurant can seat a whopping 105 people at a time, which enables the bar to become a party spot for special events or a hot Friday night.
Diners access the restaurant and bar by walking across an elevated bridge to a circular building, and then descending 5 meters beneath the surface of the water. In the restaurant, thick plexiglass separates diners from the rest of the ocean as soon-to-be appetizers swim by the windows.
From an ecological stand point, the best thing about the restaurant is that the creators went out of their way to encourage coral growth to attract more customers. For construction, they chose a portion of sea floor that was barren and sparsely populated by fish. Teams of divers have been cultivating the area surrounding the restaurant for years to create a lush and beautiful reef. This restaurant is a rare example of architects and business owners working in harmony with nature. An interesting factor in this equation is that the owners are motivated to be green because it attracts customers, rather than for moral reasons. Using nature as a showpiece in a piece of architecture is a unique way to encourage environmentalism. While greed may ultimately be the motivation, who can argue when the result is an astonishing piece of architecture that contributes to the growth of the surrounding environment?