Domino Designer Lily Hevesh


Domino — a flat, thumbsized, rectangular block, either blank or bearing from one to six pips (dots): 28 such dominoes make up a complete set. It is the basis for many games played by matching ends of pieces and laying them down in lines and angular patterns. Dominoes may also be used to create intricate designs such as a map, a drawing or a pattern.

The first time Lily Hevesh arranged her grandparents’ 28-piece Domino set on the table, she felt the thrill of creating a chain reaction. “I’ve always been a very creative person,” she says, and the simple pleasure of pushing a single domino over to cause another to fall was something that she wanted to share with her family.

Hevesh’s passion for the domino has led her to a career as a professional domino designer, designing curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall and even 3D structures such as towers and pyramids. Her clients have included casinos, hotels, universities and corporations. She has even designed a domino-themed restaurant.

She credits her grandfather with teaching her the basics of domino when she was a child, and it is from him that she learned how to create these intricate designs. Hevesh’s work has garnered a lot of attention, especially since she was featured in the 2007 documentary Domino: The Movie.

In this film, Domino, the designer and her husband, Nick, are interviewed by filmmaker Erick Stoll and talk about their process of building and arranging these elaborate creations. It is a fascinating look at the creative process and how a simple toy can inspire so much imagination.

Hevesh uses a combination of straight and curved lines, patterned and colored tiles, 3-D shapes and stacked walls to create her designs. The process isn’t quick, as she works slowly and meticulously to ensure that all of the dominoes fit together perfectly. But her patience pays off in the end. “When I finish a design, it gives me such a sense of accomplishment,” she says.

The word domino is derived from the Latin dominium, which means “power or strength.” It has come to denote any kind of power or influence. The most common use of the term today, though, refers to a game with a row of twenty-eight small rectangular blocks, each marked with one to six pips (dots). The pips represent values of combinations of two thrown dice; the higher the value, the more points on a domino.

These dominoes are then arranged in a variety of ways to play a number of different games, including the Block and Draw games. In these games, each player starts with a certain number of dominoes: two players play with seven dominoes each, three with five and four, respectively, and so on. A player’s turn continues until they cannot place a domino, at which point they pass it to the next player. If no one can continue playing, the winner is the partner with the most total points on their remaining dominoes.