Monkey in a Suit

The effect of contrast in design has been interesting not of its direct influence of one element after another to whoever perceives it, but the possibility of its contradictory effect. 

How contrast works: It interestingly put together two things of different characteristics in duality so that one emphasizes the other.

The irony part is that most of the time, contrast can possibility gives you something which is quite the opposite of what one element tries to influence.

Take a child in a suit for example. 

The physical attribute (especially the face) of a child signifies a young kid. 

A suit signifies a grown man's character and attire.

Putting a suit on a child can possibly NOT make the child any older but the grown man's suit makes him look much younger in a contrasting manner - a kid with his father's ballroom attire. 

If you put a monkey in a suit, does the monkey make the suit more "monkey" or the suit is making the monkey more "monkey"?

Unless suit has been worn by a monkey for a period of time long enough to be recognized, otherwise, it is likely that the monkey being recognized as "more monkey" than before in a human suit.  
In architecture, if you stack a row of 8 containers together, the containers as a whole become an unfamiliar thing for the people who perceive it, but they eventually are able to be read the containers through their recognition of what an individual container looks like.

This is why most containers contrasted by its stacking manner make them more interesting than being a container alone on the ground.

If you design an old looking mall (colonial looking for example) with a modern looking tower above it, it has the possibility that the colonial mall making its modern tower above looks extra modern, and the colonial mall looks extra old. 

The colonial mall does not make the modern tower any older (or colonial), and the modern tower does not make the colonial mall much modern.

They just signify what they originally are in a much stronger sense in duality.