As with the sense of thirst and some of our other senses, hunger is not an enjoyable experience. However, we can use the sense to drive us toward something else, hopefully something of sustenance. When we have hunger we want to not only be sated, but we would also like to explore the sense of taste, at least when we are not starving. In this way, the designer can set up an installation that drives the visitor toward some objective of the designer’s, especially if the destination includes food. We cannot force the visitor to be hungry, but we can help push toward the sense with environmental changes, others with the sense or enjoying delectable items, some form of malnutrition, or with time. The designer should use the sense to urge the visitor toward some object or goal.
In order to drive the visitor, we must set up the environment where comfort may be present, but there is still a wanting. In fact, it would be good for the visitor to not have distractions away from the sense of hunger, which would act as a stand in before the feeling is satisfied. However, we want those visiting the design project to desire to stay at least long enough to fulfill the design intentions, so the space likely should not be solely about hunger and fulfillment. In this way, there is a balance necessary to keep the user in the space while encouraging a sense that is not completely positive. Unlike most of the other senses, it is not suggested that we start with a blank slate and build up the sense up, especially because it is innate or existing within the individual. As such, it is up to the designer to determine what is a good pairing with the sense of hunger. As mentioned before, there are several that are top of mind, such as the senses of taste, thirst, and smell. But, we could also pair the sense with vision as it can help induce hunger possibly by viewing imagery of food that is tasty or to evoke an environment that is hungry.
To invoke or promote hunger, we need to condition the visitor to have an open mind and be sympathetic to the needs or introduction of hunger. This might be through one of the situations listed above or it might be an invitation to spend more time or expend more energy within the design to naturally come to the experience of hunger. In this way, we need a space that can be sustained for long periods of time, and we will also need other items to provoke the sense. These other items are to stimulate the mind and other senses to bring hunger. Such things include actual food likely attractive and hopefully with enjoyable aromas. Likewise, we can use perfume or other forms that provide odor that might be enjoyable, such as the smell of fruit or baked goods. Visuals and imagery are also helpful, and these and the previous items need to have place within the design project. This could be front and center, like advertisements for food or the condition, or it could be served like a buffet or social gathering. As mentioned with thirst, the design may not be solely about the sense of hunger, and this sense may impel the visitor toward some portion of the design. Could the food be an objective within the design, hidden and meant to be found? Would it be better to make those experiencing the design to work or wait for the introduction of food, et cetera, instead of releasing it on the front end.
Hunger is an interesting sense because it is very real, but it can also be imagined or brought forth by the mind. In addition, there are different forms of hunger that include lack of any food, lack of food with nutritional value, and a purely imagined or sympathetic desire to be full or fulfilled. So, there is a real hunger for any form of sustenance, a real hunger for nutrition, and imagined hunger, whether brought on by stimuli or through sympathy or desire.
Hunger is a strong solution for design because it is visceral and very real, experienced and extremely hard to be ignored by the user. In addition, the sense can be used with other senses to create a compilation of experience that can act like chords or multiple instruments in music, where the experience can vary and change, depending on the state of the visitor and the elements themselves.