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Intersubband cavity polaritons in a quantum well waveguide structure are optically generated within less than one cycle of light by a 12-femtosecond near-infrared pulse. Mid-infrared probe transients trace the nonadiabatic switch-on of ultrastrong light-matter coupling and the conversion of bare photons into cavity polaritons directly in the time domain. Future perspectives of room-temperature subcycle control of ultrastrong electron–photon interaction are discussed.