Domino is a game in which players take turns adding tiles to a growing chain. Each tile has one or more numbers on both ends and is arranged to form a suit—for example, a double-six set has 28 different tiles. A player must position a new tile so that it touches either end of a previous domino and matches the number displayed on that end. When a player has all of the tiles matching the displayed number, they have completed a domino chain.
The most common type of domino set is a double-six set, which contains 28 tiles. However, larger sets exist for games involving more than four people or for players interested in creating long domino chains. These are known as “extended” sets and include sets such as the popular double-twelve and double-nine.
Each of these sets has a different number of tiles, which vary in both the number of pips on each side and the total number of sides. There are also variations in the shape of each domino, but all are rectangular and thick enough to stand upright on a flat surface. Dominos are most often made of wood, but other materials such as stone (including marble and granite), soapstone, ebony, and even frosted glass are sometimes used for sets that have more of a novelty look.
Hevesh has designed and built some of the largest domino setups in the world, ranging in size from 300,000 to 76,017 individual pieces—more than enough to fill up an Olympic swimming pool. Her impressive designs all come down to simple physics: As the first domino falls, it converts its potential energy into kinetic energy and sends that energy through the chain to each subsequent piece until every one of them is knocked over.
She says that when she creates a domino arrangement, she follows a version of the engineering-design process: “The idea is to think about the theme or purpose of the layout and then brainstorm images or words that might go with it.” From there, she starts building her structure, placing each domino on its appropriate spot on the table, arranging it to her liking, and letting physics do the rest.
Hevesh has a very particular way of making her dominoes, which requires the use of very precise tools—an orbital sander, belt sander, rotary tool, drill press, and a welder—to ensure the accuracy of each piece’s dimensions and angles. Despite the difficulty, she finds the work very rewarding and enjoys showing off her creations to her friends and family. She also teaches workshops to teach others how to build these amazing arrangements. For more information on Hevesh’s work, you can visit her website or follow her on Instagram. You can also watch a video about her creating a mind-blowing domino installation here.