THE STORY SPACE
The Battle of Britain Bunker is of great historical significance for its pivotal role in the air defence of the United Kingdom throughout the Second World War. Situated on the former RAF Uxbridge site, the brand new exhibition and visitor centre opening coincides with celebrations to mark 100 years of the RAF.
Embracing the central theme of flight, the impressive building exterior mimics a shell-like form with twisted geometry and striking design.
THE STORY NARRATIVE
Housed within are interactive displays entwined with aircraft, machinery and archival material which leads the visitor on a path through the development of the UK's innovative air defence system and the bunker's crucial role beyond the Battle of Britain.
Set across two levels, visitors can encounter this historical narrative, delving deep into the true stories and real encounters from those who were present at the Battle of Britain.
THE STORY ENGINEERING
Visitors are welcomed into the expanse of open space with a large-scale blended projection of archive footage featuring a Spitfire gracefully moving across the skies in slow motion. Greeted by a glimpse of the aircraft displayed beyond, the visitor journey commences into the main exhibition space where the timeline of the evolving air defence system sets the scene for the story ahead.
The Ground Floor arena offers a spectacular view over the exhibition as well as close up views of the Spitfire and Hurricane suspended from above. Looking downwards, echoes of the past can be seen, heard and shared through the detailed layers of audiovisual interpretation.
As visitors descend into the underground bunker display they can explore more about the No.11 Group Operations Room whose staff controlled air defence for south-east England. An ultra short throw projector animates the space with looping archive footage that reveals the bunker in action, transporting the visitor back in time. Additional touchscreen displays enable visitors to navigate the Operations Room through a 360° interactive experience permitting further insight and access for those unable to go underground to the bunker and original Operations Room itself.
Moving through the exhibition, archives and objects are complemented by interactive touchscreens which provide scope for further investigation with captivating media provided by Clay Interactive. Distant voices from the past can also be heard at audio stations where anecdotes have been recorded to ensure the lasting memory of those important recollections and first hand experiences are shared amongst all ages and generations.
A replica of the original plotting map table puts the visitor in control of events with three interactive touchscreens mounted within the setworks display, each accompanied by a 1940s custom-made headset. Magnetic contact switches are embedded inside the bunker table and are activated by the touchscreens, allowing visitors to move physical objects to specific positions on the table, thereby triggering responses in the software.
Custom period telephones are situated nearby and commence ringing when activated by movement detected by sonar sensors mounted within the setworks. As curiosity is sparked and the phone answered, a response is provided by recorded voices that re-enact the past as though the visitor is live in this bygone era. Further prompted by the audio, push buttons can be triggered to activate an “alarm” via the local setworks speaker which creates a reaction in the wider exhibition area.
Collaborating with Skellon Studio, Clay Interactive, Scena and Displayways has ensured an imaginative and insightful exhibition that is educational, thoughtful and inspires future generations to engage in the significant events from our past.
What the Client Says
Daniel Stirland, Senior Curator commented 'From the very beginning of our project we wanted to include audio-visual and digital interactive elements to complement our wartime artefacts. Sysco have helped us to realise this by incorporating large projections of original wartime footage, audio recordings of veterans, and touch-screen recreations of wartime technology that deliver our 1940s message in a 21st Century manner. Working with Sysco has been an incredibly easy process, and the end result is outstanding.'