Ergonomic Style

By Madoline Markham

When it comes to furniture design, industrial designer Dorsey Cox, IDSA combines function, ergonomics, invention, and aesthetics —along with some personal experience. “The reason I love designing furniture so much is because everyone uses it,” he says. “If you asked me to design a hairdryer, I would welcome the opportunity to design one, but I probably would not purchase one for my own use.”

Cox has designed furniture products for restaurants, K-12 classrooms, multi-purpose collaborative spaces, heavy-duty intensive use, training rooms, and dedicated adjustable height workstations. The Leveler table base he designed for Falcon won an IDEA Gold Award, which is the pinnacle of industry awards for industrial designers.

Among his products are seating designs for U.S. manufacturers; he in turn receives royalties for the sale of products. These include office chairs designed for affordability, stacking and nesting, back support, clean design, and many other factors outlined in the product descriptions below. Whatever the product, they all fit Cox’s philosophy that life is simplified by good design.

Raised in a family of manufacturers, Cox received his Bachelor of Industrial Design from Auburn University. His career in furniture design started in 1987 with Thonet and Shelby Williams Industries, followed by eight years as director of design for Falcon Products, and he was a founding principal of PUSH Product Design in 1998. He started his current venture, dorseycoxdesign, in 2002. All in all, he has more than 30 years of experience in industrial design, with 17 patents and others pending.


Since 2012 Dorsey Cox Design has shared space with other designers and artists/craftsmen at the STREAM building in Avondale. Cox leases collaborative work/shop space to independent creative, which allows them to share resources and participate in multi-discipline collaboration to create relevant solutions for customers. Cox refers to it as an “incubator for craftsmen and artists.” “Each business is independent and yet we collaborate on jobs together as needed to offer a scalable resource to our customers,” he explains.

The STREAM includes areas for metal smithing fabrication, woodworking, a model shop, design offices, and storage. It also serves as a local source that designs and builds products for individuals and commercial businesses like UAB. It offers scalable product design and development, prototyping, and custom limited furniture production to its clients.

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For a good price point

Also designed for SitOnIt, Rowdy is Cox’s most affordable chair. Its smart handle design and one-piece shell allow for easy cleaning, and up to 40 chairs can stack on a cart. This timeless design works well for multi-purpose areas.

For ergonomic comfort

Backed by solid steel, the Non-Stop Heavy Duty task chair’s ergonomic comfort works especially well in high-intensity 24-hour environments where chairs need to perform all day, every day. Using the same Non-Stop ergonomics, the Knack light task chair has an uncluttered transitional design without the intensive use requirements. Options include a counter height stool that can be a good fit for offices and workstations in education, healthcare, and government. Both chairs were also designed for SitOnIt.


For quick transitions

The Relay was designed for SitOnIt for extra comfort and quick transitions. Its stacking and nesting models allow for high-volume storage that work well in settings from corporate meeting and training to classrooms. With a generous seat and ergonomic back support, the Relay chair offers a durable solution to meeting spaces. It can come with optional seat and back cushions, arm and armless, or with casters for mobility.

For designers

Designed for JSI, the Avia conference chair is versatile for A&D (architect and designer) environments. The chair can be customized with high, mid, and low back options and various arm styles for executive, conference, and task seating applications. It also features a  customizable fabric center panel as well as elegant hardware details.