Designing Mind-Blowing Domino Installations


Domino is a term used for any of the many different games played with small flat blocks of wood or other materials that are divided into two parts and bearing from one to six pips (dots or spots). The pips on a domino are what distinguish it from similar pieces, such as bones or cards, which feature a single value on both sides. A set of dominoes can be arranged in lines or angular patterns and the player who matches and plays the first domino controls the flow of play.

When the first domino falls, it unleashes a pulse of energy that travels down the line. This energy converts to kinetic energy and causes the next domino to push down on its own or be pushed by the previous domino, and so on, until the last domino has fallen. The speed of the domino’s pulse is independent of the size of the triggering domino, much like the speed at which a nerve impulse travels down a nerve axon.

Although there are countless variations of domino, most fall into four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games and round games. In bidding games, players compete to determine who can place the first tile in a chain of dominoes. Blocking games, on the other hand, are characterized by a teamwork approach in which players work together to prevent opponents from achieving their goals. Scoring games are played with one or more dominoes and a scoresheet. Round games involve the use of dice.

Hevesh explains that when creating her mind-blowing domino installations, she follows a version of the engineering-design process. She starts by considering the theme or purpose of a project, and then brainstorms images or words she might want to incorporate. She makes a model of the design in order to visualize it, and then she begins creating it.

Once Hevesh has finished her design, she tests it to make sure each piece works individually before she puts it all together. She then starts with the biggest 3-D sections and adds the smaller flat arrangements as she goes along. She also films each section of the installation in slow motion so that she can watch it in a more precise way and make precise corrections if something isn’t working as intended.

In most domino games, the player who holds a double or higher is called “the lead.” If there are no players with a double, the player who draws the heaviest single begins the game. Alternatively, the winner of the last game may open the new one. When a player cannot play his tile, he raps the table and the turn passes to his opponent. He may then choose whether to continue play or to ‘chip out’ and end the game. If the game ends in a tie, it is broken by drawing new hands from the stock. The player who draws the heaviest double for the opening is given the right to seat himself, and so on.