The design – which was commissioned in April 2010 – is the culmination of a joint proposal submitted to an English Heritage-managed competition.
The tunnels, which span 6km, were a strategic defence point for Operation Dynamo – the evacuation of British and French troops from the beaches of Dunkirk – during World War II.
Parts of the tunnels date back to the Middle Ages and they were also used during the Napoleonic Wars and the Cold War.
A 50m-long tunnel, divided into six bays, tells the story of Operation Dynamo. One area with an interactive machine gun nest allows users to track and shoot down a Messerschmitt plane as it moves across a projected backdrop.
Light Bureau designer Arve Trajei Olsen, whose designs have aided the installations, says, ‘We’ve created a 1940s appearance with modern technology – mainly using LEDs and lighting it all with only 750W.’
The sequenced modular approach means areas are ‘switched on and off and lit as a group walks through’, says Olsen.