Thirst Sense Overview III

In order to use the sense of thirst, the designer needs to provide an opportunity to drink. This can be a pause in the design project or can be an integral part of the scheme. After the choice of beverage, location, and purpose of the drink is determined, the next requirement is to make it or provide some method to have it made. Is it automatic from a machine? Is it prepared and served en masse? Is it prepared by a bar tender or similar?

In addition to the choices and preparation, the designer should determine if the use of the sense of thirst is complementary to the use of other senses. As mentioned earlier, the senses of taste, hunger, and smell go well with thirst, but what about some other senses? What does it mean to pair thirst with heat thermoception, pressure, or something more asynchronous as vibration, sound, or time? Are there analogs to the sense of thirst in these other senses? If not, how to we pair them? It is possible to create a very complex design with the combination the senses, especially the more sophisticated combinations.

It is possible to improve the use of the sense of thirst in a design by preparing the visitor with some form of stimulus. This can be any or several senses, besides thirst. Of course, the designer needs to lead the input toward a specific objective which culminates in the sense of thirst and quenched with some form of drink. Or, perhaps the intention is not to fulfill the need to drink, which could be cruel, but it could have some purpose. Maybe this example would be in order to make the visitor sympathetic toward some condition of another or others. Only after the point in such a design is made would the designer allow the visitor to drink. This could be a very powerful move in a design which would not be forgotten by many who experience it.

If a design were only thirst, the design would be about agony and desire, without requite. There would only be the visitor’s mental state to drive the desire to drink from them, and no other sense would be available to take the mind off of the experience. This could be a metaphor for life, or it could be in order to change the condition of the visitor, likely not for the better. However, with conditioning, the visitor could be extremely strong mentally, able to focus and bury inward the need to drink, under the conditions and context. Although this would not be a happy experience, the visitor and designer could learn from such an experience.

If a design did not incorporate thirst, there would be little difference from typical or traditional design, which focuses on the sense of vision, and at times, other senses like hearing and forms of touch. So, the visitor would not be surprised to not experience such, unless told there would be an moment of thirst. In any case, such a precedent would mean that it is important that the designer choose carefully when to use the sense of thirst as to not make it a gimmick and trite. So, thirst would be experienced only once or at most occasionally in a design. Although we are exploring many senses, it is not necessary to use them all at once. Indeed, this is the case with the most used senses, such as vision and hearing, as well.

With the use of actuators and influence, can we use thirst as a proxy for something else which is important or vital, where the sense does not dissipate until the objective is met. Otherwise, the sense can be used as anticipatory or a warning. Although the sense is not necessarily a bad or painful experience, it is not one of joy and comfort, and it can be used as a motivator to push or pull the visitor into another or better state.

The designer can use the sense of thirst to create a different design in an existing structure by coding the meaning of thirst and refreshment and conveying the experience to the visitor as the space is traversed. Again, the use of influence and environmental input can make the sense of taste emerge and wane. So, the designer must define the location of the points of inflection of the sense of thirst and then provide the appropriate stimuli. Then, the motivation to move through the space must be pushed by the designer to ensure the entire experiential sequence is met.


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