The Art of Domino


The domino is a small, flat rectangular block used as a gaming object. It features a line down the middle that separates it into two square ends, each of which has a number of spots—called pips—on them. The most common set contains 28 dominoes. Other sets contain more. You can use these small blocks to play games with other people, or to create artistic designs. You can also use them to create 3-D structures, such as towers or pyramids. Some people like to line them up in long rows and then knock them over.

Dominoes can be made out of wood, bone, plastic or even marbles. They can be painted, or they can be left natural. Historically, they were made of a material that was readily available—such as bone or wood—and could be easily split. Today, dominoes are often made from clay or ceramics, though they can still be found in the traditional wooden forms. Some are even made out of chocolate!

Domino art can be as simple or as complex as you want. You can make straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, or stacked walls. Some artists like to work in 3D, creating intricate structures that can stand up against gravity.

Hevesh began experimenting with domino art as a youngster when her grandparents gave her the classic 28-piece set. The hobby turned into a career after she started posting videos of her creations online. Her YouTube channel, Hevesh5, has more than 2 million subscribers. She’s worked on large team projects involving hundreds of thousands of dominoes, and her largest installations take several nail-biting minutes to fall.

Physicist Stephen Morris says the key to a successful domino setup is gravity. When a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy, which is the energy it has stored up based on its position. When it falls, much of that potential energy is converted into kinetic energy, which causes the next domino to topple and start a chain reaction.

The game of domino originated in Italy in the 18th century and spread to Austria, southern Germany and France. It became a fad around the same time that the word “domino” itself appeared in print, first recorded in 1771.

Domino’s was founded in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in 1962 by Tom Monaghan. His strategy of putting pizza restaurants near college campuses helped the company grow quickly. When Monaghan retired in the late 1970s, the company was more than $943 million in debt and facing serious competition from fast-food chains. A new CEO, David Brandon, put several changes into place to boost the company’s performance, including a relaxed dress code and leadership training programs. When he was replaced with Dominic Doyle in 2004, the company’s stock price tripled.

As Domino’s continued to grow, it became clear that some employees weren’t satisfied with their jobs. Doyle emphasized listening to customers and employees, which was one of the reasons the company earned the Detroit Free Press’ Top Workplaces award. He made sure to speak directly with workers to see what issues they had and how he could address them.